Heather Black

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Louisville Is One Step Closer To A ‘Cleaner’ Future

LOUISVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)-It once was a major employer in Winston County. Then technology changed and a job-maker became a chemical waste site.

12 years after the American Creosote plant site in Louisville was placed on the nation’s Superfund hazardous waste site, city officials and area residents are seeing hope for the future.

The American Creosote Works, a wood treating facility once these 120 acres from 1912 until 1997. But when the plant closed, it left behind contaminated ground water and soil. That’s when the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in. Last year, the EPA began a 20 million dollar clean up that involves gathering up all the creosote and sealing it away forever in a 24-acre protected area.

“The contaminated materials — both soils and sediments that are outside that 24-acre foot print are being excavated and brought into that cell,” says Mike Arnette.

The clean-up should be completed sometime in 2015. Project Manager Mike Arnett says that’s when the property will be given back to the community.

“The state will transfer the property once EPA says the site is clean. The property will be transferred to the city and county for re-development. And that’s a good news here,” says Arnette.

Even though it’s almost been a decade for the clean-up to get under way, some believe it’s had a positive impact on Louisville economy.

“What we’ve been doing is looking at the possibilities for the site and we’re excited about getting the site back as part of our product for Winston County. It’s going to be over 100acres with rails and with all the utilities in place that gives us a great product to market and sell,” says Jerald Mills.

Louisville Mayor Will Hill says the clean up already is paying off in a new kind of optimism.

“To actually see the project starting, it’s given a lot of hope and it just seems like it’s been a lifetime that the property there has been useless to this community. SO that’s the biggest hope for the future of it, but the project itself has definitely been a boom to our community,” says Mayor Will Hill.

The clean-up is providing 35 temporary jobs for the town of Louisville. The EPA is providing an update to citizens during a town hall meeting tonight at 6 at the Winston County Housing Authority on West Main Street.