Consultant hired for park cleanup

Published 7:07 pm Thursday, February 8, 2018

PPM Consultants of Irondale, Ala., which serves as the city’s Brownfields grant consultant, has been hired by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to serve as consultant for the cleanup at Riverfront Park.

The board approved a $20,000 contract with PPM Monday. Work to repair a slide area at Riverfront Park was halted Jan. 4 after a substance believed to be oil was found in the ground at the repair site. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is working with the city and the Warren County Board of Supervisors on the problem.

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Assistant city attorney Walterine Langford said one of PPM’s responsibilities will be to determine the type of liquid in the ground at the park.

The board hired PPM in 2016 to assist the city in applying for a Brownfields grant to clean and clear the Kuhn Memorial Hospital property. Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, Brownfields grants provide money to help local governments clean and renovate former hazardous material sites.

Officials with MDEQ have been working with PPM on Riverfront Park since after the pollution was discovered.

Lynn Chambers, division chief for MDEQ’s groundwater assessment and remediation division, said Jan. 28 that at one time Midsouth Oil had a storage facility with nine above ground storage tanks that held various petroleum products on property south of the park.

The tank farm, she said, was located in an area between Ameristar and the park, and within 10 feet of the park’s access road off Washington Street. The former tank farm site is now part of the casino’s north parking area.

She said MDEQ officials had been working with PPM to determine the source of the liquid and the extent of the contamination before a plan can be developed to resolve the problem.

“We don’t know if the contamination is coming from pipeline or a tank,” she said. “We need to find that out and determine the extent of the contamination before we can go any further with planning remediation. You need to know what you’re dealing with before you can develop a plan to resolve it.”

She said officials have been searching land records to see if they can find a responsible party for the problem, but no one has been found.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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