Mississippi Phosphates Corporation (MPC) in Pascagoula, Miss. has been issued an EPA Order that requires expedited corrective measures be taken at the facility to ensure protection of public health and the environment in the surrounding community. EPA issued the Order under Section 7003 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which states that an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment exists at the facility.
MPC manufactures sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid at the site and produces phosphate-based fertilizer. EPA’s RCRA program and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) conducted inspections of MPC on July 13 and 14, and collected sampling data on August 11 and 12, 2009. Ongoing releases of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents to soil and surface water were discovered during the initial inspection, which resulted in the return visit to collect samples of soil and groundwater to confirm initial concerns.
EPA believes that an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment exists at the facility due to improper storage, inadequate worker safety equipment and many leaks and spills of solid and liquid hazardous wastes. Some of the work required of MPC in the 7003 Order includes immediate treatment and containment of releases of hazardous waste; submittal of plans and timetables for rapid remediation of contaminated media; identifying and repairing sources of leaks and spills of sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, and acidic process wastewaters on-site; submittal of plans and timetables for mitigating contaminant migration; and providing all employees with chemical resistant clothing for use inside the plant. EPA and MDEQ will continue to work jointly to oversee MPC's compliance with environmental laws, regulations and permits.