Little known about plans for new plant

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; What does the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality know about the chemical Tessenderlo Davison proposes to produce in Adams County? So far, only what they read in the papers.

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove announced Jan. 24 that Tessenderlo Davidson Chemicals would locate a facility in Natchez. The company has begun due diligence to buy the former Ethyl Petroleum building.

A timeline for getting the plant online is not yet known, according to EDA Director Michael Ferdinand, and neither is the exact number of people that will be hired &045; although Musgrove announced 40 jobs.

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The facility will be used to manufacture and distribute sodium and sulfur products, including sodium hydrosulfide solution. That is used to purify metals, break down wood fiber and tan animal hides.

It can irritate eyes and skin and, if ingested, corrosion of the digestive tract, according to the company’s Web site, If it is exposed to air, resulting hydrogen sulfide gas can cause respiratory problems and, with more exposure, unconsciousness and death.

Calls regarding safety measures at the plant were referred to Dawn Kominski, a Tessenderlo environmental engineer who did not return calls Tuesday or Wednesday.

Until the company applies for air and water permits, the MDEQ will not receive data about the plant or its chemicals, said Toby Cook of the Environmental Permits Division.

Notices of the applications will be run in newspapers and given to anyone who requests notice. If someone requests a hearing, one will be held in Natchez. When the company applies for its permits, it will be required to submit data on the chemicals it intends to produce and on their potential effects.