River, stream water quality topic of talk

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 27, 2000

Citizens with concerns about the water quality of some areastreams and waterways will have a chance to air their commentsTuesday during a Department of Environmental Quality public hearingin McComb.

Tuesday’s meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the C.O. HaskinsCommunity Health Education Center at Southwest Regional MedicalCenter, will focus on the Pearl River and South Independent Streamsbasins in southwest Mississippi.

“We are asking individuals to help us identify environmentalproblems in the basins and then work with us and other state andfederal agencies in finding solutions to those concerns,” saidBarry Royals, chief of DEQ’s Surface Water Division.

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About two-thirds of Lincoln County is included in the PearlRiver basin, which also covers all or portions of about 20 othercounties. And, Brookhaven is about 10 miles away from the SouthIndependent Streams basin, a collection of waterways in southwestMississippi, said Vernon Hartley, basin coordinator for theproject.

“We’ll be addressing both,” Hartley said.

The purpose of Tuesday’s meeting is to give an overview of thenew Basin Approach to Water Quality Management. It is amulti-agency effort to reduce pollution in rivers, streams andother surface waters.

The Basin Approach involves a five-year plan, Hartley said.

In the first year, problems are identified and then evaluated inyear two. In years three and four a management strategy isdeveloped and then implemented in the final year, Hartley said.

The approach is designed to coordinate and better focusresources in promoting clean water. Hartley said hearings likeTuesday’s give stakeholders, such as recreational users ofwaterways, businesses and industries, fishing clubs, farmers andothers, a chance to have a say in identifying problems andconcerns.

“It’s important to have public input throughout the five-yearprocess,” Hartley said.