City, county apply for funds to clean up illegal dumps

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 3, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Those tired of seeing bayous filled with garbage, take heart: both the City of Natchez and Adams County are taking steps to combat illegal dumpsites.

Earlier this week, personnel from the State Department of Environmental Quality toured dumpsites in Natchez to prioritize them for cleanup if the city receives a DEQ grant for which it plans to apply.

The worst sites include dumps on Cottage Farm Road, Brenham Avenue, McIntyre Street and Stiers Lane, said city Grants Coordinator Brett Brinegar.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;They’ve got several dumps on each road, Š and it’s been like that for 25 years,&uot; said Aldermen Ricky Gray, whose Ward 2 includes several of the sites. &uot;Some people rent houses inherit the problem that was there before they moved there.&uot;

The sites were chosen not only due to the severity of the problem but the fact that many are located near creeks and, as a result, could contaminate areas downstream.

The city will apply, by the April 1 deadline, for the maximum Solid Waste Assistance Grant for mid-sized cities &045; $25,000 &045; to address the problem. The best part? &uot;There’s no match,&uot; so the city won’t have to put up any money, Brinegar said.

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, with cities and counties usually receiving word on the status of their applications in four to six weeks, according to Luis Murillo of the DEQ’s Solid Waste Division

The city also received a $50,000 award in 2001.

In addition Darryl Grennell, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, said earlier this week the county has also applied for such a grant.

Sites the county would address with the funds were not available as of press time.

Solid Waste Assistance Grants are also available to fund 50 percent of the cost of hiring a solid waste enforcement officer to enforce codes related to dumping. The city or county would have to fund the other 50 percent.

Cities and counties can apply for such grants twice a year, by April 1 and Oct. 1.

Gray said he hopes the next step will be to educate people on the importance of not dumping. For one thing, he said, dumping garbage along bayou banks kills grass, causing erosion.

&uot;The only way you can alleviate the problem is educating the people,&uot; Gray said.