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Neighborhoods tested to see if pollutants spread

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — State and federal agencies are testing neighborhoods around a former chemical plant in Hattiesburg for possible pollution.

The Hattiesburg American (http://hatne.ws/VTjZzv) reports that the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency and Ashland Inc., Hercules' parent company, have drilled test wells within a half-mile of the plant.

MDEQ remediation employee Willie McKercher says the wells are drilled in the path that water flows underground. He says information gathered will be used to clean up contamination.

Ten residents and a church sued Hercules and Ashland in October, alleging that tests ordered in 2011 found chemicals in the groundwater next to at least two homes.

The plant closed in 2009, the year after Ashland bought it. It made products including resins, synthetic rubber and pesticide.

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Information from: The Hattiesburg American, http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

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