EPA says cleanup of former industrial site will take weeks

PURVIS — The cleanup at the former Davis Timber Co. site should be completed within weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency says.

Just last week, workers were putting the final loads of clay over a 3.1-acre where contaminated dirt and water-bottom muck were moved, said Scott Martin, remedial project manager with the agency’s Region Four office in Atlanta. That will be covered with truckloads of topsoil and plants set out in that dirt, he said.

“There’s been lots of interest in the site, but as of right now, I know of nothing that has been decided,” he told the Hattiesburg American.

The total cost will be about $3.9 million, over about 10 months.

In 2009, the cleanup was expected to take years and cost up to $6 million. Last year, the estimate was a year or more, and $4.5 million.

Martin says the cleanup cost was lower because there was less contaminated water than expected.

Davis Timber treated pine poles, pilings and timber from 1972 to 1987. Six fish kills between 1974 and 1987 in nearby Country Club Lake were traced to pentachlorophenol that had leached from the site. For years, high levels of dioxin compounds were found in fish.

The 30-acre site northwest of Hattiesburg was added to the EPA’s Superfund list in 2000, but it wasn’t until the 2009 stimulus act that cleanup money was found.

The work included relocating 1,046 feet of Mineral Creek, excavating part of its east bank, treating or extracting 521,918 gallons of water, extracting 2,500 cubic yards of muck from a former holding pond, and covering excavated and dredged areas with tons of new earth.

 

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