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State Orders Company to Remove Train Carrying Sewage

November 8, 1989

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ Mississippi on Tuesday ordered a South Carolina company to remove a train carrying 5,000 tons of sewage sludge or face $2 million a day in fines.

″Mississippi is not a dumping ground for someone else’s sewage, and this order should ensure that we get rid of it,″ Gov. Ray Mabus said in a statement announcing the order by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The train, dubbed the ″poo poo choo choo,″ arrived Friday in Moss Point just outside Pascagoula on the Gulf Coast after being driven out of Louisiana by residents who complained of its smell. The 63 cars covered with plastic are loaded with 5,000 tons of non-hazardous, treated human waste from Baltimore.

Under the order, GSX Chemical Services of Columbia, S.C., will be fined $2 million a day retroactive to Nov. 3 if it doesn’t remove the waste.

A hearing to allow the company to challenge the fines was scheduled for Nov. 21, said Mike Goff, Mabus’ adviser on environmental issues.

GSX Vice President Roger Davis said Tuesday night that the proposed fine seemed excessive.

In a telephone interview from his Columbia home, he said GSX was considering sending the sludge to one of several landfills or to one of several composting businesses and said he believed the company would find someone to take the waste Wednesday. He declined to identify the landfills.

GSX contracted with Metcalf and Eddy Service Inc. of Baltimore to dispose of 12,000 tons of the sludge from Baltimore’s municipal sewage system at a plant in White Castle, La. An unspecified amount of waste still waits in Baltimore.

Davis said the contract allows his company to return the waste if it is turned away at White Castle, but the company in Baltimore hasn’t wanted to take it back.

″We probably aren’t going to take any more of it since this has been such a problem,″ he said.

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