Vol. 17 Issue 4 April 2020
News from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
A Message from MDEQ Interim Executive Director Chris Wells

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) continues to maintain our commitment to protect human health and the environment even during these unusual times. On April 2, we issued guidance to the regulated community regarding compliance with regulatory requirements during the pandemic. That document can be found here . We encourage you to read its content and contact us if you have questions. MDEQ offices are closed to public access at this time, but we continue to conduct agency business as much as possible. Agency COVID-19 i nformation can be found on this webpage . For an environmental emergency, please call 1-800-222-6362 . For other inquiries , please call 601-961-5171, and a list of staff phone numbers and email addresses can also be found here
Staying in Touch with EPD

Currently, the Environmental Permits Division (EPD) is relying heavily on the use of email to send permits and coverages.  We encourage applicants and permittees to ensure their contact information is updated including valid email addresses. Call or email the assigned manager to check the contact information in our records. The managers for a specific facility can be found here .
Recently issued permits and certifications can be obtained from the following link . Recently issued general permit coverages, including a copy of the coverage certificate, can be obtained here .
An applicant can check the receipt of a general permit NOI as well as get the contact information of the staff member assigned to the application review using the following link .

In addition, information about electronic application submittals can found here and NOI submittals here .
An Update on Ten Years of Restoration
By Chris Wells

April 20, 2020, marked the tenth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon (a/k/a BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Those ten 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 work among the Gulf states and federal agencies to reach a settlement, in the nearly four years since the settlement, and to some extent even prior to the settlement, we have been diligently getting projects underway to benefit our Gulf Coast’s natural resources and its economy.

As the agency managing the Deepwater Horizon restoration efforts in Mississippi, MDEQ has held multiple public meetings, including our annual Restoration Summit, across the Coast to seek input on the types of projects that are needed. 

That input has resulted in 105 restoration projects implemented and currently underway with a total of $576 million of obligated funds. Three main funding streams provide these resources to Mississippi: the RESTORE Act , Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF). We have directed approximately 80 percent to ecological restoration and 20 percent to economic restoration. 

This brief overview cannot cover all the various aspects of restoration. I encourage you to find out more about MDEQ’s restoration program, and the various projects, by going to our website at restore.ms . You can also sign up for email updates and our other outreach methods. Your input will continue to guide us as we improve the Coast’s beautiful natural resources. 
Mississippi's FEMA Risk MAP and Flood Mapping Program Quarterly 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 provides quarterly updates. The latest dated April 6 is available here .
Mississippi Beaches Reopened

MDEQ suspended its public beach water quality monitoring notifications from April 3 to April 20 due to an executive order from Governor Tate Reeves closing the beaches during that period. The agency continued to test at all beach monitoring stations to support data collection needs for state water quality assessment. Beginning April 20, MDEQ began notifying the public of beach advisories which can be found here .

MDEQ encourages the public to contact local authorities to determine the status of beach openings as outlined in Governor Reeves'  Executive Order 1473 . The order also requires that beach visitors maintain social distancing. Social distancing information has been provided by the Mississippi State Department of Health .
EPA's List of Surface Disinfectant Products to Combat COVID-19

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 can be found on their website here . All products on this list meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. All of EPA's Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources are compiled here .
EPA Proposes to Retain NAAQS for Particulate Matter

On April 14, EPA announced its proposal to retain, without changes, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM) including both fine particles (PM2.5) and coarse particles (PM10). Read EPA's press release .
MDEQ Social Media

Stay up to date with MDEQ's Facebook page, Twitter account, Restoration Twitter account, and Instagram . In addition to regularly posted information there are some interesting fossils and photos posted too!
Photo of the Month

Sunrise at the Ross Barnett Reservoir in March. Taken by MDEQ's Robbie Wilbur. Find out more about the agency's work in the Pear l River Basin and the Reservoir here .