Hub City holding community meeting on future of Hercules site

People who live in Hattiesburg will be able to talk with city leaders at an upcoming meeting in regard to the Hercules site.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 8:18 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 8:19 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg along with the US Environmental Protection Agency want to hear from people who live in the area before making any moves.

Most people familiar with Hattiesburg know about the Hercules site. It’s the lot north of West 7th Street with the smokestack towers.

“Hercules started operating in the City of Hattiesburg just over a century ago, and they use rosins to make a variety of products, and over the course of generations over the past century, employed a lot of people... thousands of people,” said Barker. “However, there were some things done to the environment that were concerning for MDEQ and the EPA and for our community at large.”

Now, the EPA potentially wants to put it on what’s called the Superfund National Priorities List.

That list essentially includes sites where releases of contamination produce significant human health and environmental risks, according to the City of Hattiesburg.

“The superfund status is sort of the highest priority list of potential sites that need remediation...,” said Barker. “The EPA is saying that there needs to be some further cleaning up.”

However, Barker says there are alternative ways to get the site cleaned up. That’s why he and other city leaders are holding a community meeting next Thursday, May 19, at the C.E. Roy Community Center.

Barker says he wants to hear from the people who live and breathe in the area and give them a chance to ask the EPA some questions.

At the end of the day, he says it’s all about the people who live there as well as making use of the land again.

“The city hasn’t taken a position,” said Barker. “The only position we take is we want our residents to get answers, and from there, I think it’s, as we do everything, we try to talk to the community and see how we move forward.”

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19.

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