Contractors this week will try to eradicate a smelly problem from an industrial sewage lagoon in west central Mississippi.

Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson Foods, said the Arkansas-based poultry company has hired a contractor to remove solid waste near a Tyson plant at Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex outside Vicksburg. The industrial park is operated by the Warren County Port Commission.

"Since Tyson is one of the primary users of the Port Commission's treatment system, our company has hired an outside contractor to help," Mickelson said in a statement. "The contractor will remove solids that have built up on the surface of one of the wastewater lagoons in an effort to help the treatment system function better."

Port commission officials said about 60,000 gallons of waste has built up on the surface of a lagoon near the chicken processing plant.

Two other manufacturers use the wastewater treatment system - one that processes metals and one that handles metals and plastics. The Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Mississippi National Guard have buildings at Ceres.

The Vicksburg Post reported that residents near the industrial park have complained the past three months about a stench from the wastewater lagoon.

Though waste from all businesses at Ceres is flushed into the lagoon, most of it comes from Tyson's local plant, which produces cooked and uncooked chicken products to sell to food service customers.

Areas most choked by the substance are nearest the plant, where Tyson starts treating its waste. Three additional cells extend south and empty into the Big Black River.

Samples were taken from the lagoon last week by ST Environmental Services, which operates the lagoon, and sent to an independent lab. Those results should determine how much of it is excess grease dumped in the lagoon by the plant, port commission officials said.

"This is a situation that should not have happened," said port commission executive director Wayne Mansfield. "We're working on a long-term solution with them."

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality told port commission chairman Johnny Moss the odor amounted to "a nuisance, not a violation." Tyson's permit to handle wastewater is valid through November 2014, MDEQ records show.


Information from: The Vicksburg Post,