Media Contact:   Chinika Hughes (o) 601.545.4508

HATTIESBURG, MS, AUG. 23, 2016 —–Mayor Johnny DuPree announced today that the $1,500-per day fines levied against the City of Hattiesburg for failing to meet Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) environmental regulations concerning wastewater treatment were stopped effective August 18 due to the hard work of Mayor DuPree, City Council Members and others.

“While the details are still being negotiated, I am excited to announce that the fines and penalties that were accruing have been halted,” DuPree said.

The fines, imposed for failing to meet deadlines associated with construction of a new wastewater treatment facility, were halted when the City was able to collect enough testing data to satisfy MDEQ that the lagoons are able to meet the current treatment limits now that repairs to the aerators are completed and USA Yeast has been operating its treatment facility for over a year.

For several months now, the Council and Administration with the assistance of city attorneys and engineers, have been meeting with the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) and MDEQ to renegotiate and resolve the out of compliance issues. That hard work has paid off.

Both MDEQ and GRN have agreed that efforts to maintain and restore the wastewater lagoons, including requiring USA Yeast to begin treating its wastewater, have brought the City into general compliance with its discharge permit.

“We want citizens to understand that we are working very hard to keep rates as low as possible for ratepayers,” DuPree said. “Just as importantly, we would like people to know that we will continue to expend all efforts to comply with all laws and regulations for properly treating the sewage.”

Hattiesburg officials say negotiations to determine a time schedule for moving forward, and other specifics, will continue.