Vol. 17 Issue 7 July 2020
News from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
MDEQ Offices Open

MDEQ offices are open to visitors; however, they are requested to follow social distancing and to wear a mask. Please observe any signs that may be posted in MDEQ buildings. For questions about guidelines for meetings and additional information, please contact MDEQ staff .
Updated Regulatory Guidance Due to COVID-19

On July 20, MDEQ updated and made minor changes to the Guidance to the Regulated Community Regarding Compliance with Regulatory Requirements During the COVID-19 Pandemic document that was issued on April 2. The document can be found here . Information from MDEQ regarding COVID-19 can be found on this webpage .
Sign Up for EPD Public Notices

The Environmental Permits Division (EPD) is transitioning to transmitting its public notices on a weekly basis by email. Anyone who wants to be added to the public notification email list can do so by signing up here .
Public Meetings

Meetings for the Commission on Environmental Quality , the Mississippi Environmental Quality Permit Board , and permit public hearings are continuing to be held virtually. For more information, how to participate, and agendas, please click on the links in the previous sentence.
Risk MAP and Flood Mapping Update

MDEQ's Office of Geology recently released a quarterly update for the ongoing FEMA Risk MAP and Flood Mapping Program projects. That update can be found here .
EPA Awards $3.1 Million Grant to Improve and Protect Mississippi’s Water Quality

On July 13, EPA announced that it awarded MDEQ grant funding totaling $3,146,000 to address nonpoint source pollution in the state.
The press release included the following quotes from Governor Tate Reeves and MDEQ Interim Executive Director Chris Wells:

“We are truly grateful for our partnership with the EPA and this Administration, which prioritize protecting our state and our nation’s water quality,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “This $3.1 million grant will boost our efforts to ensure that Mississippians have access to clean water while preserving our precious water resources. I look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership and working together to improve the water quality for our great state.”

“These funds directly improve the state’s water quality by supporting a wide variety of activities that focus on the management and reduction of nonpoint source pollution in vital watersheds. There is a direct impact on local economies and the environment through improved water quality that benefits all types of uses and activities,” said Chris Wells, Interim MDEQ Executive Director. “We encourage the public to contact us with ideas for watershed projects that could be supported by future funding.”    
Staff Change

Jaricus Whitlock was selected in April to serve as the Air II Branch Chief in the Environmental Permits Division (EPD). He replaces Kayra Johnson who moved to the private sector. Jaricus has been with the agency for 11 years and was previously a staff engineer in the Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Division (ECED) and the Air II Permitting Branch.
 
“I am extremely humbled and thankful to be chosen to lead this incredible group that is the Air II Permitting Branch. I take pride in being able to work at an agency with such a vital core mission, and I look forward to working with the regulated industry and MDEQ staff as a whole in this capacity to achieve this mission,” said Whitlock.
 
Jaricus earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Mississippi State University and is a registered Professional Environmental Engineer. He is a Meridian native but currently lives in Brandon with his lovely wife and rambunctious son.
EPA takes action to help Americans disinfect indoor spaces efficiently and effectively

On July 7, EPA announced it is is taking action to ensure that Americans are able to disinfect public spaces effectively and efficiently to control SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The newly released guidance outlines what information registrants need to submit in order to expedite the review of requests to add electrostatic sprayer application directions to disinfectant product labels for use against SARS-CoV-2.  Read More .
Jackson Area E-Waste Event Rescheduled

The Jackson metro area e-waste collection event that was scheduled for May 1 has been rescheduled for August 7 at the Mississippi Farmers Market. This event, sponsored by MDEQ, the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, Magnolia Data Solutions, and other local organizations invites businesses and residents to drop off discarded electronics for proper recycling. 
Photo of the Month

This photo was taken at the Cypress Swamp, off the Natchez Trace near Canton, by MDEQ’s Sara Beasley.