Mississippi Phosphates pleads guilty to CWA violations in Bayou Casotte
Mississippi Phosphates Corp. recently pleaded guilty to a felony, which charged the company with a criminal violation of the Clean Water Act.
Aug. 20, 2015 -- Mississippi Phosphates Corp. (MPC) -- a Mississippi corporation that owned and operated a fertilizer manufacturing facility located on Bayou Casotte in the city of Pascagoula, Miss. -- recently pleaded guilty to a felony, which charged the company with a criminal violation of the Clean Water Act.
As part of the guilty plea, MPC admitted discharging more than 38 million gallons of acidic wastewater in August 2013. The discharge contained pollutants in amounts greatly exceeding the company's permit limits, resulting in the death of more than 47,000 fish and the closing of bayou.
MPC also admitted that, in February 2014, it discharged oily wastewater from an open gate on a stormwater culvert into Casotte, creating an oily sheen that extended approximately one mile down the bayou from the company's location.
MPC entered its guilty plea before Chief Judge Louis Guirola Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Because the company is in bankruptcy and is obligated to assist in funding the estimated $120-million cleanup of its site, the court accepted the parties' agreement for MPC to transfer 320 acres of property near to its Pascagoula plant to become a part of the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.