Mississippi Phosphates Trouble

Mississippi Phosphates is looking at having to pay thousands of dollars in fines after the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged them with violations to the Clean Water Act.
Residents in nearby neighborhoods tell News 25 the hot water the plant finds itself in is just the beginning.
Pascagoula resident, Barbara Weckesser, has been dealing with a dusty car since 2011. For her, the dirt is not just a nuisance, it’s bad for her health and she can prove it. She has paperwork she filed four years ago showing this dust contained harmful contaminants that she and her neighbors have been breathing in for years. “From that point on, it has been like living in pure hell out here. Because, we have not only had one thing, we’ve had numerous things,” said Weckesser.
Weckesser says before she moved to Cherokee Drive in 2010 she had very few health concerns. But, within just months, she began developing respiratory problems and now has a lump on her neck. “Right now, for our neighborhood, we have seven active cases of cancer,” said Weckesser, “and that’s only one little section of our neighborhood.”
Weckesser hasn’t been able to directly attribute her sickness to Mississippi Phosphates but she says when there are health improvements, it’s usually attributed to one thing. “We’ve had people who have left, have moved out, and said ‘I feel better.’”
Weckesser says many homeowners simply can’t afford to move. Now, the community is calling on their government to stand up and help them.
Howard Page with the Steps Coalition said, “One thing we need is better regulation and oversight. We need to have people here that, when there’s a complaint, MDEQ can send an oversight person, a regulatory person, to look into this stuff as it happens.”
Armed with health complaints she received from a questionnaire she handed out to her neighbors, Barbara Weckesser says she’s ready to take on Mississippi Phosphates. She says if the company is only afraid of paying fines received through the Clean Water Act violation, well they’re gravely mistaken. “Well, how about, let’s add millions to that to take care of this Cherokee Forest neighborhood that has suffered the consequences.”
News 25 did reach out to Mississippi Phosphates but they declined to speak on any matters currently in litigation.

Categories: Community Headlines, Local News, News

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