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In a move to remove volatile organic compounds from its facility, Hercules Inc. in Hattiesburg, Mississippi entered into a consent order with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up two areas near the facility to ensure the protection of public health and the environment.

The consent order calls for implementing interim measures pending further site investigation and evaluation of final site-wide corrective actions.

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The EPA, along with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), found measures are necessary to address the migration of chemicals from the facility at the eastern and southern property boundaries.

These chemicals, called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ended up detected in shallow off-site groundwater along the eastern property boundary, and are present on-site near the southern property boundary. There is currently no known risk of exposure to the public from this groundwater contamination.

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Interim measures required by this consent order include: coordination with and assistance to the City of Hattiesburg for sewer line replacement along Providence Street (adjacent to the Hercules facility); removal of contaminants in an off-site groundwater monitoring well east of the facility; evaluation of VOCs in shallow groundwater east of the facility and south of 7th Street; removal of an underground petroleum storage tank and other structure on Hercules property south of 7th Street; and decommissioning of the on-site wastewater treatment impoundment basin.

The consent order also requires further evaluation of options for groundwater remediation to the east and south of the facility as necessary to protect human health and the environment.

Implementation of the interim measures began the week of July 7 and the EPA and MDEQ will provide oversight of all activities.

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