Vol. 16 Issue 2 February 2019
Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Newsletter
Restoration Update
By Gary Rikard, MDEQ Executive Director

It is hard to believe, but April of this year marks the ninth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon (a/k/a BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Those nine years have involved not only the unprecedented response efforts in the immediate aftermath of the spill, but also settlement negotiations, and the implementation of projects to help restore the natural resources and the economy of the Gulf of Mexico region.

While it took several years of behind-the-scenes work among the Gulf states and federal agencies to reach a settlement, part of which includes $2.17 billion for Mississippi, you may not be aware of the current efforts to implement projects that benefit the Gulf Coast’s economy and its natural resources. Read More.
MDEQ Releases Volkswagen Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for Public Comment 
MDEQ released the Volkswagen Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for review and comment on February 15 and is accepting comments on the plan until March 26. The public can submit comments in writing or at three upcoming public hearings in March.
Gov. Phil Bryant has designated MDEQ as the agency to administer the state’s portion of the funds ($9.87 million out of the $2.9 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust) to implement air emissions reduction projects. 

To read the plan and to learn how to submit comments, access the agency's VW Mitigation Trust webpage.
Brownfield Redevelopment Incentive Program
Lynn Chambers, Groundwater and Remediation Division

Since the late 1990s, the redevelopment of brownfield properties has been a continuous march of urban planning and community development. This newer type of development takes abandoned or underutilized properties, with real or perceived environmental contamination, and returns the property to productive use while improving community appeal for residents. Think of the abandoned service station in your city that has turned into the quaint local restaurant or coffee house or the long forgotten dry cleaners that is now the new corner bakery.

Fast forward to today – we want redevelopment of brownfield properties to be a new mantra for you and here’s why. In the summer of 2013 in Mississippi, the pre-existing Mississippi Economic Redevelopment Act (Act) was expanded to include brownfield sites that are eligible to participate in a brownfield agreement with MDEQ to be included in the redevelopment rebate. So why is that important to you? Read More.
Bailey Appointed FSD Chief

Steve Bailey was recently appointed as the new Chief of MDEQ's Field Services Division (FSD). Steve replaces Doug Upton who retired at the end of November 2018. The Field Services Division is the technical and scientific support arm for MDEQ's Office of Pollution Control.

Bailey has been with the agency for almost 22 years and was previously the manager of the Stormwater Branch within the Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Division. He earned a Environmental Engineering degree from LSU, and is originally from Warren County. He still lives there with his wife and three daughters.
Milner Recognized as a Top 40 Under 40

MDEQ’s Jennifer Milner was recently announced as a winner in Waste360’s fourth annual 40 Under 40 awards program which honors the next generation of leaders who are shaping the future of the waste and recycling industry.

"The future is bright! The 2019 class of Waste36040 Under 40 awards winners is filled with today's brightest young innovators, thinkers and doers in the waste and recycling industry,” said  Waste360 Vice President Mark Hickey. 

“It feels so good to know that someone took notice of my work. But greater than that, I feel tremendous pride to represent our state, MDEQ, and all the folks working hard to advance recycling in Mississippi,” added Milner. 

Milner serves as the State Recycling Coordinator and manages the Recycling and Waste Reduction Branch in MDEQ’s Waste Division. 
Save the Date for the 2019 enHance Annual Workshop and Awards Luncheon!

Find out more at enhance.ms .
Governor’s Delta Sustainable Water Resources Task Force to Host Two Meetings

The Governor’s Delta Sustainable Water Resources Task Force will hold two meetings in March to inform producers in the Mississippi Delta of ongoing and future activities to help address declining water levels in the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer.
•March 6 -- at the Clarksdale Country Club (905 Friars Point Rd.) from 10:00 to 12:00
•March 7 -- at the Capps Technology Center in Indianola (920 Highway 82) from 10:00 to 12:00

Lunch will be served after both meetings.  More Information .

Spring Deadline Approaching for Solid Waste Assistance Grants

The deadline for local governments to apply for the Fall round of the MDEQ competitive solid waste assistance grants (SWAG) is April 1, 2019. The competitive SWAG funds are available for municipalities, counties, regional solid waste management authorities, and other multi-county entities. Eligible local governments may apply for grants for various types of solid waste projects and programs such as: clean-up of unauthorized dumps; establishment of a collection programs for white goods or other bulky wastes; support for recycling and waste reduction programs, public education campaigns on solid waste and recycling; salary support for local solid waste enforcement officers; household hazardous waste collection programs; and, other activities that support proper management and recycling of solid wastes.

More information available here . Or, contact Ms. Taaka Bailey or Ms. Tonisha Rogers at 601-961-5171.

Fossil Road Show

MDEQ Office of Geology staff will be on hand at the annual Fossil Road Show on March 9 to help identify finds brought in by the public.

More information is available here.

Members of the public can submit photos of their rocks and fossils anytime during the year to "Ask a Geologist" on the MDEQ website.
Bioturbation, Oil Spills, and Geology
David T. Dockery III, RPG

A KATC.com news item (January 29, 2019) with James Savage of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) featured the heading, “Clams don’t mess around after oil spill, UL researchers find.”  The report found that, following simulated oil spills in aquarium environments, those environments with the deep burrowing razor clam Tagelus plebelus (Figure 1) had 25% less oil that those without the clam.   Read More .

The 2019 Washington County Earthquake
David T. Dockery III and Barbara Yassin

On Tuesday, January 8, at 4:26 a.m., a 3.7 magnitude earthquake shook the Mississippi Delta and was recorded on Louis Lyell’s seismography in Jackson, Mississippi. The epicenter was five miles from Hollandale in Washington County on the flank of Panther Burn Dome. Read More .

Photo of the Month

Pelicans at the Ross Barnett Reservoir.

Taken by David Quinn, MDEQ Office of Information Technology.