Hattiesburg, Mississippi – After more than 18 months of negotiations, the Hattiesburg City Council has approved a revised agreement with USA Yeast to better protect the City’s lagoon systems and ensure that all wastewater treatment costs incurred by the City are fully recovered.
The contract identifies the following parameters:
- Within three years, USA Yeast will be required to reduce the loading of its Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) wastewater discharge by 55% and the Total Suspended Solids (TSS) wastewater by 62.5%.
- A surcharge rate is applied for all wastewater loads that are over the established limits. This charge will allow Hattiesburg to recover the costs associated with treating this industrial discharge. A Risk Premium Rate can also be assessed over and above the surcharge rates for any limits that are exceeded.
- The agreement requires USA Yeast to meet interim milestones to ensure it meets the deadline for reductions in BOD and TSS. Noncompliance fees, including per-day fees, will be assessed if the milestones are not met.
“This new contract puts Hattiesburg in a better position to protect our lagoon systems in the long run and is an example of our comprehensive approach to industrial wastewater agreements,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “This agreement, and those like them, will continue to protect the City’s treatment systems while recovering all costs associated with operations and future maintenance.”
A need for a revised agreement was initiated in December 2021 when complaints regarding odor issues within the City’s downtown footprint began.
In late January 2022, a plan was drafted to work closely with Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality representatives and the City’s industrial employers to discuss production schedules, waste removal and additional variables that might play a role.
While the City’s lagoon system was in compliance with the prescribed limits provided by MDEQ, there were concerns about BOD and TSS samples, specifically where wastewater leaves USA Yeast’s plant and comes to the City’s lagoon. With its contract up for renewal, revised contract discussions began.
Interim limits were placed on USA Yeast during contract negotiations. Both the interim and final limits were developed by the City’s environmental consultant to ensure that the City remains in compliance with national and statewide requirements.
Per the City’s settlement with Gulf Restoration Network and the Environmental Protection Agency in 2017, the city’s lagoons are tested several times a month regarding the BOD limits and the TSS limits.
To receive a violation from the MDEQ, three straight months of exceeding limits must take place. The City has not had a violation since 2017.