County re­ceives $15K MDEQ grant

Starkville Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By RYAN PHILLIPS edi­tor@starkvilledai­lynews.com

The Mis­sis­sippi Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity (MDEQ) an­nounced on Mon­day that it had awarded Ok­tibbeha County a solid waste as­sis­tance grant in the amount of $15,567.

MDEQ says the money will be used for a lo­cal solid waste en­force­ment of­fi­cer and a dump­site, how­ever county of­fi­cials say the money will pri­mar­ily be used for solid waste cleanup ef­forts cur­rently un­der­way.

“The Solid Waste As­sis­tance Grants sup­port a va­ri­ety of use­ful solid waste man­age­ment ac­tiv­i­ties for cities and coun­ties, and this grant will as­sist Ok­tibbeha County's ef­forts in im­prov­ing their man­age­ment of solid waste,” said MDEQ Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Gary Rikard.

Grants like the one re­cently is­sued to Ok­tibbeha County are used by com­mu­ni­ties for pro­grams to pre­vent and clean up unau­tho­rized dumps; to aid in hir­ing lo­cal solid waste en­force­ment of­fi­cers; for pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion ef­forts on solid waste dis­posal and re­cy­cling; and to es­tab­lish pro­grams for the col­lec­tion of white goods, bulky wastes and re­cy­clables.

Board of Su­per­vi­sors Pres­i­dent Or­lando Trainer said the county is grate­ful for hav­ing re­ceived the grant funds over the years, but the amount of money given can only do so much.

“We've used it sev­eral times to clean up il­le­gal dump sites,” Trainer said. “I wish it was 10 times as much.”

County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Emily Gar­rard said the funds would serve to help sus­tain the cur­rent ef­forts of the board and the county will not cre­ate an ad­di­tional po­si­tion with the grant money.

Gar­rard said a Build­ings and Grounds Depart­ment em­ployee cur­rently serves the county in this ca­pac­ity.

“What we do is we clean up il­le­gal dump sites where peo­ple have thrown some­thing over the bridge or some­thing and have an out­side con­trac­tor for that,” Gar­rard said.

Trainer said he would like to see the county be able to hire a full solid waste cleanup team, be­cause of the size of the county.

“We would have to have some county money to make that hap­pen,” Trainer said.

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