Home » NEWS » Manufacturing » Investigators testing neighborhoods for pollutants

Investigators testing neighborhoods for pollutants

HATTIESBURG — State and federal agencies are testing neighborhoods around a former chemical plant in Hattiesburg for possible pollution.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency and Ashland Inc., Hercules’ parent company, have drilled test wells within a half-mile of the plant, the Hattiesburg American reported.

The wells are drilled in the path that water flows underground, MDEQ remediation employee Willie McKercher said. He said information gathered will be used to clean up contamination.

Ten residents and a church sued Hercules and Ashland in October, alleging that tests ordered in 2011 found chemicals in the groundwater next to at least two homes.

The companies’ response to the federal lawsuit denies many of the plaintiffs’ claims but acknowledges many of the test results confirming contamination in soil, air and water near the plant.

The plant closed in 2009, the year after Ashland bought it. It made products including resins, synthetic rubber and pesticide.

The site itself also will be tested for whether soil pollution is a risk to the environment or people.

In December, crews began moving sludge that contains benzene and hydrogen sulfide from the plant’s impoundment basin — a cleanup priority, said Rick Sumrall, with MDEQ’s Compliance Enforcement Division.

Drying the sludge so it can be moved to a sanitary landfill has proven difficult, and the contractor hired for that part of the job is testing it to see just how to proceed, said Tim Hassett, a Hercules representative.


… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Megan Wright

Leave a Reply