The city of Brandon wants the Rankin County Circuit Court to grant summary judgement in its lawsuit against Gold Coast Commodities.
The city filed an amended motion on July 16 after filing the original motion on June 23. Attorneys for the city say that the facts of the case (that Gold Coast wastewater damaged the city's sewer pipes) is not in dispute. If the judge in the case rules in the city's favor, all that would be left would be the imposition of damages.
Engineer Nathaniel Husman said in an inspection report filed for the city that he's never witnessed the types of damage in his 27 years of professional experience displayed in the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sewer pipes he examined that were excavated in December 2020 near Gold Coast.
The samples of pipe were “out of round” and “egg shaped,” which he says indicate a material and structural failure in the pipe's structure.
Gold Coast attorneys argue in a counter-filing that four experts who provided testimony in the case have multiple possible causes for the damage to the city's PVC pipes downstream of Gold Coast's Brandon plant.
Some of these include corrosion from acidic soils and microbially-induced corrosion, which the brief says is a very common problem for municipal sewer systems.
Two other experts cited in the brief said new damage observed in December 2020 could stem from boiler blow-down water from Reckitt Benckiser (which is located adjacent to Gold Coast), to improper installation and even sinkholes.
Gold Coast's Brandon plant utilizes a process to convert used cooking oil and soapstock — which is a byproduct which originates from the refining of soybean and other oils — into animal feed and biodiesel using sulfuric acid. This wastewater, according to the city of Brandon, can damage sewer pipes
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality ordered the company to stop dumping its wastewater into Brandon's system in 2016. After the DEQ order, the company started dumping its wastewater in Jackson before moving entirely to Pelahatchie, where the state Commission on Environmental Quality ordered it to stop dumping its wastewater there. The separate Permit Board revoked the company's wastewater permit at Pelahatchie.
A judge’s order moved Gold Coast’s challenge to Rankin County, where Gold Coast does its business.
The company is now disposing of its wastewater in Memphis, Tennessee after the commission and the Permit Board ordered it to stop using its Pelahatchie lagoon
The city of Jackson filed its own lawsuit against Gold Coast in late June in Hinds County Circuit Court. Andrew Walker, the owner of Rebel High Velocity Sewer, was indicted last year and later pleaded guilty to federal water pollution charges in a deal with federal prosecutors. The conditions of his plea agreement were ordered to be placed under seal.