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Columbus, Miss. (WCBI) – Columbus residents learned more about the contamination cleanup process near the former Kerr- McGee plant at a community forum Monday night.

A United States Environmental Protection Agency employee laid out the next steps and answered questions from the large crowd at Genesis Church.

The E.P.A. says samples will be taken from residential yards and some work will begin on the 14th Avenue North ditch this summer.

However, a bulk of the investigation process won’t begin until next year, when funds from a nearly $68 million settlement will be available.

Residents asked questions about where samples will be taken and express outright concern or distrust of the numbers provided by the EPA.

Now, the Memphis Town Community Action Group wants and has to convince local, state, and federal government agencies to buyout homeowners or assist in the process.

“If we can move them out, the process won’t be nearly as long. It would be totally inhumane. You wouldn’t treat an animal that way, to leave animal in a place where he is breathing and living in toxins,” said Memphis Town Community Action Group Chairman Reverend Steve Jamison.

Jamison has been pushing for an investigation and cleanup of the area for years.

The EPA says the clean-up process will be complete by 2022 but could finish sooner.

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