Meridian Star

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July 28, 2013

Picayune plant used creosote to treat lumber

Superfund site nearing completion

MERIDIAN —

PICAYUNE (AP) — Soil on the property, contaminated by creosote where wood was treated at the old Picayune Wood Treating plant from the 1940s to the late 1990s, is in the final states of being completely contained.

A Superfund open house was hosted recently by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

The agencies gave the public a rundown of the Superfund project's current status and what the future of the project holds.

Picayune Wood Treating used creosote to coat and treat wood and lumber products such as telephone poles. From these past operations, it is known that groundwater beneath this old facility is contaminated. All wood treating operations stopped in 1999.

All activity regarding the site, starting in 1999 through completion, has an estimated cost of $60 million.

The site comprises approximately 50 acres, including property for sale.

The most recent phase of the project has been to contain the contaminated soil from former industrial use into two capped cells.

Development of the containment cells has taken approximately 485 days and about 78,164 man hours have gone into this phase of the Superfund project.

Contaminated soil excavated has reached more than 137,600 cubic yards, said EPA Remedial Project Manager Michael Taylor.

"The completed cells are capped off by two feet of soil and an impenetrable high-density polyethylene liner," he said.

Soil brought from a local farm and used as fill on the site was once piled to a height of about three stories.

The highest point on either of the two cells is 14.5 feet with a downward gradual slope.

With that stage coming to a close, putting up a fence on the perimeter and landscaping are the only details remaining, said Taylor.

Groundwater testing and tracking will be an on-going effort for the next 10 years and two groundwater monitoring wells will be installed on-site to treat contamination.

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