Public meeting set for Thursday to discuss former MS Phosphates site

Public meeting set for Thursday to discuss former MS Phosphates site

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The Environmental Protection Agency are asking for feedback from residents in Pascagoula over the former Mississippi Phosphates Corporation Site. The EPA has prepared a cleanup plan for portions of the site and are looking for input from the public before they move forward. A public meeting will be held tonight at Pascagoula Senior Center, located at 1912 Live Oak Ave., from 6-8 p.m. Residents are welcome to give their suggestions for the site, which is included in the EPA's list of Superfund sites.

The agency said its preferred cleanup alternatives, described in an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA), are protective of human health and the environment. The cleanup process will also eliminate storage of more than 500 million gallons of contaminated water on site, said the EPA, and will reduce the volume of water requiring treatment by an estimated 98% during an average precipitation year. The total cost to implement the three recommended alternatives is $71.6 million.

According to the EPA, the cleanup plan is focused on the closure of the East Gypsum Stack and the North Ponds at the West Gypsum Stack. The work will be divided into three phases, each of which have several cleanup alternatives developed by the EPA.

Phase One, which is estimated to take place sometime this year, will involve the closure of the current East Gypsum Stack, including Pond 3, Pond 4 and stack side slopes. This phase will reduce rain water contact by 155 acres, or 41%, and cost an estimated $31.4 million.

Phase Two is projected to take place in 2019. It will include the closure of the East Gypsum Stack Pond 5 and the West Gypsum Stack North Ponds. Rain water will be reduced by an additional 90 acres, or 64%. This phase will cost an estimated $18.4 million.

In 2020, Phase Three will see the closure of East Gypsum Stack Pond 6 and the water return ditch around the perimeter of the East Gypsum Stack. After the completion of this phase, which will cost an estimated $21.8 million, the site will be 100% closed.

The EE/CA and other site-related documents are available for review below or at the information repository located in the Pascagoula Public Library. Written comments may be e-mailed to or mailed to: Craig Zeller, U.S. EPA Region 4, Superfund Division - 11th Floor, 61 Forsyth Street SW, Atlanta, GA.

After considering all information received during the public comment period, EPA will consult with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and publish an Action Memorandum formalizing the cleanup plan.

On Dec. 8, 2017, EPA announced that the MPC site is among those that Administrator Pruitt has targeted for immediate and intense attention. The 21 sites on the list – from across the United States – are in direct response to the Superfund Task Force Recommendations, issued this summer, calling for this list.

Copyright 2018 WLOX. All rights reserved.