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Mississippi sues firms, saying they polluted the environment

Mississippi’s attorney general is suing companies it accuses of dumping toxic chemicals in Grenada and Water Valley that polluted the groundwater and air.

The attorney general’s office filed two lawsuits Friday after outcry from residents and a U.S. congressman, The Clarion-Ledger reported.

One lawsuit filed in Grenada County alleges that a Grenada plant which manufactured hubcaps dumped cancer-causing Trichloroethylene (TCE) onto land where a subdivision was built.

“Knowing that it is out there, it makes me scared,” said Johnnie Williams, a resident of the Eastern Heights subdivision right next to the Grenada Manufacturing facility.

Textron, one of the companies being sued, said in a statement that it owned the plant for a short time decades ago and is “working to understand the historic operations of the site.”

A second lawsuit filed in Yalobusha County names several companies as defendants. It states that TCE from storage tanks leeched into the soil and groundwater beneath a manufacturing plant there.

The suit alleges a recent groundwater sampling from the vicinity tested for TCE at 297,000 parts per billion, 59,400 times the EPA’s contaminant level.

“These types of cases are unusual,” Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said in a statement Tuesday. “Only over the course of the past year have the State and this Office come to fully appreciate the true breadth and depth of the problems in Grenada and Water Valley, and the threat posed to our resources and our citizens.

The companies involved “have taken no effective steps to stem the tide of the toxic plumes they have created and have shown no willingness to finally put a stop to the migration of these plumes away from their dumping grounds into our state’s resources,” Hood added.

Grenada and Water Valley are about 30 miles apart, in an area between Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee.

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