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Sampling to begin at wells near old Hercules plant

HATTIESBURG — The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality says it expects the owners of the old Hercules plant to begin checking water this month at eight private wells near the plant.

Officials say that Ashland Inc., which now owns the site, will need permission from property owners to sample the wells.

Tests found contamination after the plant shut down in December 2009. The department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered its owners to conduct on- and off-site testing.

Today is the deadline for comments about the testing and clean-up plans. However, Mississippi DEQ spokeswoman Melissa Collier says the EPA intends to extend the deadline to give the public more time to review the document.

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