Once again the Bradford County commissioners listened patiently to Kate Ellison and your historian tell them why the proposed HPS mine would not be good for Bradford County. With no prior consultation, it turned out that both topics dealt with the risk and consequences of bankruptcy of phosphate companies and the resulting abandonment.
This has already happened in Florida and is now being acted out in Mississippi.
Following is the message left by your historian, and we thank Mark Lyons for the link:
Last spring we reported here about the phosphate company Mississippi Phosphate Corporation (MPC) near Pascagoula, MS which went bankrupt in 2014. This is an update based on an EPA bulletin, describing the worsening situation there. The company folded, leaving over seven hundred million gallons of contaminated wastewater stored atop gypstacks. The problem is that you can not just leave the water there. Rainfall and leaching generate more wastewater, and it takes about $1,00,000 per month to maintain the wastewater.
Every inch of rainfall creates more than nine million gallons of contaminated water. They are able to treat about 2 million gallons per day of wastewater, which accounts for the 1 million per month.
On Oct. 22, 2017, the site received over 12 inches of unforcasted rainfall. The site is currently operating under emergency situation. As of Nov. 2, about 110 million gallons of partially treated water were discharged. How much treated was not explained. Probably not much. Another 50 million gallons will likely be discharged before it begins to be controlled.
The bulletin ends by saying the EPA is committed to keeping residents informed of their activities. Would you like to be living alongside that mine?
Two trusts were set up to financially handle the liabilities. They both became insolvent, and the US environmental protections agency (EPA) took over. The owners are gone, they made their nickel and left. You and I are now paying for their mess and ineptitude.
Remember your history lesson, this has already happened in Florida at Piney Point 17 years ago. We don’t think HPS should be allowed to create poisons on their land which have the potential, because of a 12 inch rainfall or whatever, to ruin Bradford County and our River. This mine company will be creating something that they may not be able to control, and we could be one ones who suffer.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-