Clean-up of part of Hercules plant to begin soon - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Clean-up of part of Hercules plant to begin soon

Hattiesburg residents attend an informational meeting Wednesday hosted by MDEQ and the EPA. Hattiesburg residents attend an informational meeting Wednesday hosted by MDEQ and the EPA.

Clean-up of part of the old Hercules plant in Hattiesburg will begin later this year. The Mississippi Dept. of Environmental Quality will oversee the removal of sludge from an impoundment basin, which was part of the plant's former waste water treatment system.

DEQ officials say about 4,700 cubic yards of sludge will be mechanically dewatered.

Wednesday night, officials with the DEQ and the Environmental Protection Agency met with the public at the Sherrill Community Center to update them on the project.

Also later this year, the EPA will release its findings from phase I of soil and water testing around the plant.

"The basin needs to be cleaned out and that's the whole reason for this project...the material that's in it needs to be removed," said Melissa Collier, director of the Office of Community Engagement for the Mississippi Dept. of Environmental Quality. 

"We plan to have a public information session with the phase I data later this fall, I'm hoping before the holidays, by the end of November, sometime in early December," said Meredith Anderson, an environmental engineer with the EPA.

Hercules operated in Hattiesburg for 86 years before it closed in 2009. The EPA ordered soil and water testing in 2011, after the agency found benzene and other hazardous materials in groundwater.

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