PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — Fertilizer manufacturer Mississippi Phosphates has put an emergency bypass in place to collect runoff from its sulfuric acid plant that was going into a storm drain, according to a published report Friday.
The Mississippi Press reports (http://bit.ly/1oC73gv ) it has obtained documents that show the company notified the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center about the incident on Wednesday.
The plant has been operating under certain restrictions handed down from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality in late October.
State regulators issued cease-and-desist orders in August and again in September for Mississippi Phosphates to shut down their sulfuric acid plants due to reports of an acid mist that was affecting residents in east Pascagoula as well as other industries along Bayou Casotte.
The newspaper reports an email circulated among Jackson County leaders and city of Pascagoula officials notes Mississippi Phosphates "has started their emergency bypass of process water off the gyp(sum) stack. They are planning on a 10-day bypass."
The plant, owned by Madison-based Phosphate Holdings Inc., manufactures sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid to produce diammonium phosphate fertilizer. It employs about 240 people in Pascagoula.
People in the area have formed the group Concerned Citizens of Cherokee to document smells, dust and pollution and raising those concerns with state and local officials and their industrial neighbors.
The group is also working with the Steps Coalition, which is helping them target their efforts on the permitting process and further documentation of the issues they face.