Jackson County

EPA plans to discharge wastewater from Mississippi Phosphates plant

Mississippi Phosphates Corporation, which has its plant in Pascagoula, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The EPA is now handling wastewater treatment and disposal.
Mississippi Phosphates Corporation, which has its plant in Pascagoula, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The EPA is now handling wastewater treatment and disposal. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

The EPA announced Tuesday a planned discharge of wastewater from the Mississippi Phosphates site in Pascagoula because of heavy rain forecasted for the area.

The rainfall is expected to exceed storage capacity of the on-site phosphogypsum stacks and wastewater treatment system, forcing the discharge, known as a bypass.

The bypass calls for wastewater to be partially treated, which alleviates any impact to the environment, the EPA said. The bypass is under strict control of the EPA, as laid out in a contingency plan for bypass and spill response.

Mississippi Phosphates is a former diammonium phosphate fertilizer plant that began operation in the 1950s. The facility stopped operating in December 2014 under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, leaving more than 700,000,000 gallons of low-pH, contaminated wastewater stored at the facility.

The EPA assumed temporary control of the site on Feb. 11, 2017, after the MPC Environmental Trust, which owns the property, ran out of funds.

EPA is overseeing wastewater treatment at a rate of approximately 2 million gallons per day. EPA will continue to oversee wastewater treatment operations at the site until the facility is sold or cleaned up and closed.

Since 2002, there have been a total of 12 emergency bypasses and uncontrolled released from the MPC Site.

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