Settlement in MS Hazardous Waste Case

Thursday, August 11, 2016 @ 05:08 PM gHale

Hattiesburg, MS’s settlement of a 2013 lawsuit against Hercules, Inc. and Ashland, Inc. shows the city will receive $3 million because the Hercules plant “knowingly and improperly disposed of hazardous waste.”

“Several years ago we entered into a lawsuit with Hercules because of what we believe are damages they caused to our wastewater system, certainly if you go through some streets you see where we had some holes in the streets, really one of them had collapsed because of the pipes that had been damaged,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree.

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The city will be able to use the funds for a one-time purchase or something that will not be a reoccurring expense, DuPree said.

“$3 million sounds like a lot of money when you talk about years and years of that contamination that they have had over there,” DuPree said.

DuPree said the plant at one time employed more people than any other location in the city and was a livelihood for many residents.

“That being said, there are still things that need to be done, need to be cleaned up over there,” DuPree said. “Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Environmental Quality with the state are actually keeping Ashland or Hercules foot to the fire to make sure that they clean up the contamination that’s on that 150-acre site.”

DuPree said he would like to see the site turned into something again the city can benefit from.

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