The Environmental Protection Agency proposes to add the non-existent chemical plant in Hatisburg to the list of priority hazardous waste sites across the country.
Hercules, Inc. produced hundreds of chemicals, such as paints, varnishes and pesticides, in the city from 1923 to 2009. Since the closure, repeated EPA inspections have found benzene and more than a dozen other contaminants in groundwater.
After the last inspection in 2021, the agency proposed in March to add Hercules to the list of national priorities of the Superfund.
In 2016, a Delaware company that was acquired by Ashland Global, satisfied the trial with the city of Hattiesburg for $ 3 million after the city claimed that the factory “knowingly and improperly disposed of hazardous waste”. Two years earlier, the EPA had ordered Hercules to spend $ 1 million to restore groundwater in the city.
Following a visit in 2021, the EPA stated that groundwater pollution is spreading beyond the property of Hercules, under the industrial complex and into the residential area.
The city of Hattiesburg maintains eight drinking wells two miles from this location. Although the EPA found no impact on these wells, it said it would continue sampling in a residential area that includes several residential complexes within a mile of the old factory.
The agency receives comments from the public until June 16 and will hold a public meeting on May 19 at the CE Roy Community Center in Hatisburg at 6 p.m. The EPA will take into account comments on whether or not to add the old Hercules Website to the list of national priorities, or NPL.
This will lead to the start of an EPA-led rehabilitation process, after which the agency will work with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and local stakeholders to renovate the site.
“Hercules” would be the second place in Hattiesburg, which received the NPL. In 2000, the EPA added the Davis Timber Company, a timber conservation company, after detecting contaminants from the company in dead fish at a nearby country club in the 1970s and 1980s.
The reconstructions carried out there led to that animal shelter at a site that opened in 2013, which was joined a few years later by a dog park called Fields of Barktopia. The EPA finally removed it from the NPL in 2018.
If added to the NPL, Hercules would become the ninth facility on the Mississippi list, all but one would be woodworking or chemical production. The other eight are shown below: