Vol. 18 Issue 4 April 2021
News from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
Wells and Phillips Confirmed

MDEQ Executive Director Chris Wells' appointment by Governor Tate Reeves was recently confirmed by the Mississippi State Senate. The Senate also confirmed Chat Phillips of Yazoo City who was reappointed to the Commission on Environmental Quality. Members of the Commission are appointed by the Governor to seven-year staggered terms.
Mississippi's FEMA Risk Map and Flood Mapping Program Status
 
MDEQ's Office of Geology provides quarterly updates on the status of the ongoing FEMA Risk MAP and Flooding Program projects. The latest update can be read here.
A Near Miss Dam Failure in Meridian Draws Attention to Dam Problems
Willie McKercher, Dam Safety Division

“That dam has been there for 50 years, and it has never had a problem.” This common statement from some dam owners across Mississippi has been a popular go-to phrase when explaining their dam’s condition in recent years. However, what many dam owners do not understand is that the designed lifespan of a dam is typically less than forty years. Once a dam approaches that age, it has to be rehabilitated and reworked in order to extend that lifespan. Given that the heydays of dam construction in Mississippi picked up steam in the 1960s through the 1980s, many dams in Mississippi are in need of inspection and rehabilitation by owners.  Read More.
MDEQ Prepares for Release of VW Mitigation Project Application

MDEQ plans to release the State of Mississippi Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Program Project Application Package soon. All eligible mitigation actions under the Volkswagen Settlement Environmental Mitigation Trust Agreement will be included in this application package. 

Please refer to the State of Mississippi’s Volkswagen Beneficiary Mitigation Plan on MDEQ’s Air Division homepage for a complete list of eligible projects to prepare for the upcoming application release. To receive updates and other information via email, sign up here. Please contact Chuck Rainey at (601) 961-5536 for more information.
MDEQ Awards $354,000 to 15 School Districts for New School Buses

MDEQ has awarded $354,700 to 15 school districts to apply to the purchase of new school buses for the upcoming school year. The grants were provided to the school districts toward the purchase of new diesel powered buses with more stringent pollution controls to replace older buses thus reducing emissions of particulate matter, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. Since 2009, the MDEQ Diesel School Bus Replacement Program has awarded over $1.3 million to more than 50 school districts for the purchase of more than 100 school buses. Read the press release.
Request for Proposals - Benthic Habitat Mapping Services
 
MDEQ is soliciting written proposals from organizations licensed to do business in the state to assist MDEQ with benthic habitat mapping services, on an as needed basis, related to natural resource restoration projects implemented on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which is necessitated by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
 
The purpose of this RFP is to solicit qualifications and data collection cost options for benthic habitat mapping services that will collect important physical characterization data for potential and existing oyster reef locations in the project area. Find out More.
Statement of Qualifications - Engineering Services

MDEQ is soliciting written Statements of Qualifications from qualified organizations, companies or individuals licensed in the state to provide professional engineering services and applied sciences services to support programmatic needs for MDEQ. The deadline is April 21. Read More.
Jackson Area E-Waste Collection Event

MDEQ is a sponsor and partner of the upcoming e-waste collection event at the Mississippi Farmers Market off High Street in Jackson. The event will take place on May 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. More information.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will be held April 24. These events ensure proposal disposal of medications and in addition help protect the environment. Information on where to find a location can be found here. For year-round drop-off of prescription and over-the-counter medications, check with a local pharmacy or this list of Mississippi law enforcement agencies offering disposal opportunities.
Ice-rafted Boulders and Glacially-faceted Stones to be Displayed at Museum 
James Starnes, RPG; Jonathan Leard, GIT; Paul Parrish, RPG; Andrew Newcomb, RPG; Office of Geology 

During the episode of Kansan glaciation, deep back in the mid-Pleistocene(some 700,000 plus years ago)glaciers plowed through North America. The advancing ice blocked and rerouted major river systems forcing them into the Mississippi River Valley as far south as Missouri, substantially increasing the size of the river from its pre-glacial configuration. Periodic megafloods from glacial meltwaters and ice-dam breaks entering the Mississippi River Valley were commonplace as it drained an ice sheet over a mile thick out into the Gulf of Mexico. The river carried with it a flood of rocks, ice, and other geological materials bulldozed by this glacial ice from the glaciated region and carried it down the ancestral Mississippi River. Read More.
Photo of the Month

Office of Geology staff recently helped lead a field trip for University of Southern Mississippi students to a lime pit in Smith County where they collected fossils.