Vol. 16 Issue 1 January 2019
Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Newsletter
Mississippi's FEMA Risk Map and Flood Mapping Quartely Update

To provide information to Mississippi county, local community officials, and other potential stakeholders
on the status of ongoing FEMA Risk MAP and Flood Mapping Program projects, MDEQ's Office of Geology has provided this quarterly update.
MDEQ Annual Report

The agency's annual report to the Governor and the Mississippi Legislature for Fiscal Year 2018 was recently completed and posted on the MDEQ website. The annual report provides an overview and updates on the varied programs and initiatives managed by the department.

Mississippi Acquires Land In Grand Bay With Deepwater Horizon Settlement Funds

The first land acquisition in the Grand Bay Land Acquisition and Habitat Management Project was recently announced by the State of Mississippi and The Conservation Fund. Funded through the Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group’s (MS TIG) Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) monies, the Project expands the permanent protection of critical ecosystems along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, helping to partially restore injuries caused by the  Deepwater Horizon  oil spill.

Over 1,500 acres of essential coastal wildlife habitat at the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Grand Bay Savanna Coastal Preserve in Jackson County was acquired under the authority of the Mississippi Secretary of State with assistance from The Conservation Fund and will be managed by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. The protection of these lands improves management and public access of both coastal wetlands and adjacent upland areas and secures habitat for threatened and endangered species. Read More .
Mississippi Sharps Program Reaches Milestone

Mississippi’s Household Medical Sharps Collection and Disposal Program reached a milestone at the end of 2018 by surpassing 50,000 pounds of medical sharps collected from the public. Medical sharps include syringes, needles, lancets, and other sharp objects used by persons in their homes for self-treatment of health related issues such as diabetes. Before MDEQ implemented its voluntary program in 2009, there were few options for disposing of home-generated medical sharps other than to place them in household trash bags. The primary problem with that practice is that it exposed people in the waste collection and disposal business to dangerous needle stick injuries. Read More .
Registration Open for Solid Waste Management Facility Online Reporting System

Registration is now available for a new online reporting format for solid waste management facilities' annual reports. State solid waste laws and regulations require the owner of a solid waste management facility to submit an annual report to MDEQ each year on or before February 28 detailing information on the solid waste disposal activities conducted during the preceding calendar year.  Read More .
MDEQ Announces Statewide Recycling Measurement Program for Local Governments

MDEQ’s Waste Division is initiating a statewide recycling measurement program through a new electronic reporting system . Mississippi law sets a state waste reduction goal of 25 percent and requires local governments to develop and implement a local 20-year comprehensive solid waste plan that includes “a strategy for achieving a 25 percent waste reduction goal through source reduction, recycling or other waste reduction technologies.” Miss. Code Ann. § 17-17-227.  MDEQ has had no formal means of measuring recycling conditions in the state, but with the launch of this new measurement program the agency will now have statewide data to measure Mississippi’s progress toward reaching the 25 percent waste reduction goal.  Read More .
MDEQ Releases 2017 Annual State Solid Waste Report

The Waste Division at MDEQ has recently released the 2017 Status Report on Solid Waste Management Facilities and Activities . The annual status report is developed by MDEQ to summarize and provide information on solid waste management and disposal activities that were conducted in Mississippi each calendar year. The report is based on information provided to MDEQ by the individual facility owners as required by state law and regulations and/or the facility operating permits.  Read More .
Deadlines Approaching for MDEQ Solid Waste Assistance Grants to Local Governments

The deadlines for Mississippi local governments to apply for MDEQ’s competitive and non-competitive solid waste assistance grants are April 1 for competitive grants and April 30 for non-competitive grants to county governments.  Read More .
MRC Awards Grants to Nine Schools

The Mississippi Recycling Coalition (MRC) recently announced the award of nine Mississippi School Recycling Grants to schools in Starkville, Canton, Oxford, Natchez, New Albany, Ecru, Hattiesburg, and Tishomingo. These grants are offered to all public and private schools teaching grade K-12 students. The awards include a $500 or $1,000 cash award and a complimentary one-year membership to the Coalition for each school. MDEQ staff serve on the MRC board and provide management assistance. Read the MRC press release .

Zircon Crystals of Volcanic Origin Allow the First Radiometric Age in the Vicksburg Group of Mississippi

David T. Dockery III, RPG, MDEQ, and Thomas E. Yancey, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Texas A&M University

Zircon is a birthstone for the month of December, but geologists know it as a birthstone for the Earth. The oldest known rocks on earth are zircon crystals from Jack Hills, Australia, with a radiometric age of 4.375 billion years plus or minus 6 million years ( Nature Geoscience , February 23, 2014). Zircon crystals are one of the toughest mineral substances and preserve a trustworthy chemical record. 

Photo of the Month

Coles Creek in Jefferson County.

Taken by Paul Parrish, Office of Geology.