MDEQ orders Hercules Plant to clean up sludge

Cleanup of the impoundment basin at the Hercules Plant in Hattiesburg continues.

It started a few days after Hercules and parent company Ashland answered a lawsuit filed against both alleging pollution in nearby neighborhoods.

Sludge cleanup began Thursday, following the answers to the lawsuit on Dec. 3. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality says the Basin, part of the facility's wastewater-processing system, contains about 4,700 cubic yards of sludge.

MDEQ is requiring sludge removal because the sludge in the basin contains toxic chemicals such as benzene and hydrogen sulfide.

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