Vol. 17 Issue 3 March 2020
News from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
A Message from MDEQ Interim Executive Director Chris Wells

Due to circumstances surrounding the state’s response to the COVID-19 situation, MDEQ offices are closed to public access at this time. We will continue to conduct agency business as much as possible to maintain our commitment to protect human health and the environment. For an environmental emergency, please call 1-800-222-6362 . For other inquiries , please call 601-961-5171. A list of staff phone numbers and email addresses may be found here
EPA Expands COVID-19 Disinfectant List

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 13 released an expanded list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list contains nearly 200 additional products—including 40 new products that went through the agency’s expedited review process. EPA press release List of products
Staff Change - ECED
 
Michelle Clark was appointed in March to serve as the Chief of the Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Division (ECED). She replaces Tim Aultman who recently retired. Michelle has been with the agency for 16 years and was previously the Manager of ECED’s Air II Branch and a staff engineer in both MDEQ’s ECED and Air Divisions.  ECED implements and oversees the majority of the agency’s compliance and enforcement at more than 10,000 sites for applicable air and water permits and regulations.  

“I’m extremely humbled to be chosen as the division chief of ECED. As a lifelong resident of Mississippi, I take pride in protecting our natural resources and look forward to working with MDEQ staff and industry to do so,” said Clark.

Michelle earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Mississippi State University and is a Registered Professional Environmental Engineer and a Board Certified Environmental Engineer with the American Academy of Environmental Engineering. She is originally from Gulfport and lives with her husband and daughter in Brandon.
enHance Annual Meeting Postponed
 
The upcoming annual enHance workshop and awards luncheon scheduled for April 8 in Jackson has been postponed. The planning committee determined that postponing was necessary given the current restrictions on travel and meetings as well as the safety of participants. Once an alternate date is determined, MDEQ will announce the new date and workshop details. 

Registrations and sponsorships that have already been paid will be valid for the rescheduled enHance event. However, persons that have registered may request a refund by contacting Ms. Barbara Hopkins with the Mississippi Manufacturers Association at  barbara@mma-web.org . For questions related to the postponement, please contact Mr. Khairy Abu-Salah at  kabusalah@mdeq.ms.gov or 601-961-5284 .
Ozone Daily Forecasts Begin April 1

MDEQ issues daily ozone forecasts from April 1 to October 31 for DeSoto County, the Jackson Metro area, and the Gulf Coast. These forecasts keep residents and industries apprised of the current ozone conditions and alert them if an Air Quality Action Day is forecast. These forecasts are updated and available daily via the MDEQ website , MDEQ Twitter account, and daily emails . Read More
Mississippi Beach Water Quality Monitoring Program
 
To keep the public informed of the condition of the waters along the beaches of the Coast, MDEQ leads a multi-agency task force that monitors the water quality at 21 stations. Water is tested for the presence of  Enterococcus  bacteria which is an indicator for fecal bacteria pollution. MDEQ issues advisories when bacteria levels exceed water quality criteria and pose an increased risk to human health. When an advisory is issued, water contact should be avoided.
 
The  beach program’s website  is updated with the issuing or lifting of advisories. The public can also be added to an  email list  and a  texting group  to be notified when advisories are issued or lifted. The information is also tweeted on the agency’s  Twitter account
MDEQ Releases Annual State Solid Waste Report

MDEQ's Waste Division has released the 2 018 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 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
EPA Announces Grant Opportunity Supporting Innovative Solutions for Reducing Pollution

EPA announced March 5 that it is seeking grant applications through the Source Reduction Assistance Grant Program from states, federally recognized tribes, universities, local governments, and other groups to support innovative solutions for source reduction or pollution prevention (P2) through research, education, training, or certain other methods.  EPA press release
EPA Guidance Documents Available

The February 28, 2020, Federal Register included a notice of availability of an EPA web portal that allows the public to search for EPA guidance documents. According to the notice, the “purpose of this portal is to increase transparency of EPA guidance documents and to provide a mechanism for the public to request modification or withdrawal of such documents.”   EPA's website provides links to all of EPA's active guidance documents.
17th Annual Fossil Road Show

MDEQ's Office of Geology has assisted the Mississippi Museum of Natural Sciences with the Fossil Road Show since its inception. James Starnes, Jonathan Leard, and David Dockery manned tables at the museum on March 7 to identify rocks, fossils, and sometimes Native American artifacts. James Starnes conducted a lecture on Mississippi’s lithic sources for Native American artifacts.
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

Nutria on top of a riser at a dam in Madison County. Nutrias are not welcomed creatures around dams. Taken by MDEQ's Amanda Tutor. Find out more about MDEQ's Dam Safety Program .