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Natchez-Adams County seeking funds to clean up old tire plant pollution
from Staff Reports - NEWS
April 4, 2018 - ListenUpYall.com

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – Local governments are seeking state and federal funds to help clean up pollution at the old Armstrong tire plant and a handful other contaminated sites in Natchez-Adams County.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors is joining the Natchez Board of Aldermen and mayor to collaborate with their industrial-development agency to apply for a so-called Brownfields grant. The federal government funnels money to the state Department of Environmental Quality for local governments to rehabilitate polluted industrial properties that could be redeveloped.

Adams County Supervisor Ricky Gray said Monday he recently met with other government officials to discuss what could be a large Brownfields grant. For example, Vicksburg last year received $400,000 from the federal government for decontaminating an old hospital site polluted with metals, PCBs and other hazardous waste.

The former Armstrong tire plant property in Natchez -- which is owned by the city – was contaminated by gasoline and cleaning solvents that seeped into groundwater below the Kelly Street property. The site has been monitored in recent years by DEQ.

According to DEQ, a Brownfield site is property for which the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. The Brownfields program enables states, communities and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together to assess, clean up and reuse properties.

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ, the local industrial developer administering the Brownfields grant application, said about five sites in Adams County could benefit from the clean-up funds. He said they include spots with contaminated underground storage tanks.

Originally occupied by Armstrong Rubber Co. beginning in 1939, the old Natchez tire factory once had more than 1,000 employees. The property was also used by successor tire-making tenants Fidelity, Condere and Titan. Titan took over in 1998 but shuttered the factory in 2001. It continued to lease the property from the city but pulled out last year. The Natchez Board of Aldermen has been entangled in legal disputes with Titan since then. The board frequently holds meetings closed to the public to discuss litigation against the Illinois-based company.




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