DIPG

MDEQ investigated contaminants at 11 Ocean Springs facilities during probe into DIPG

Diagnosis: Death is a six-part investigation by the Sun Herald into DIPG, a rare brain cancer that has killed three children on the Coast. The MDEQ looked into the DIPG and possible environmental effects in Ocean Springs.
Diagnosis: Death is a six-part investigation by the Sun Herald into DIPG, a rare brain cancer that has killed three children on the Coast. The MDEQ looked into the DIPG and possible environmental effects in Ocean Springs. lwalck@sunherald.com File

The state Department of Environmental Quality’s review of known contamination sites in Ocean Springs revealed no evidence of environmental factors “negatively” impacting residents there, according to MDEQ spokesman, Robbie Wilbur.

An investigation began in response to concerns about an elevated number of cases of a rare cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, in Ocean Springs area children.

So far this year, MDEQ has investigated 11 facilities in Ocean Springs due to known or perceived contamination.

Of those 11 sites, Wilbur said, nine are no longer being monitored because there was no detections of contaminants “above acceptable environmental limits or the contamination is contained and there is not an impact to the environment or people in the area.”

The two other sites — the old Bausch & Lomb Ferson Optics property at the corner of Government Street and Pine Drive and Village Cleaners on U.S. 90 in Spring Plaza — remain under investigation. Both sites are currently in the the cleanup phase, Wilbur said, though neither is believed to have “contaminant plumes that cause any concern for contaminant exposure to the public.”

Village Cleaners has been the subject of a lawsuit tied to contamination. Records show the business reached a confidential settlement with the family who had purchased property adjacent to the business property.

An MDEQ review of the contaminated sites on record, Wilbur said, “found no evidence suggesting environmental factors are negatively impacting the citizens of Ocean Springs,” Wilbur said.

MDEQ has also investigated petroleum spills from underground storage tanks at three businesses in Ocean Springs, Wilbur said, though all three spills were below the state mandates for “corrective action” because there was “no threat to human health and the environment.”

The MDEQ investigation included a comprehensive review of bacteria and toxicity levels for surface water, sediment and fish data so far this year in Ocean Springs. The review, Wilbur said, showed no evidence of any threat to human health or the environment.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45

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