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Local students take aim at pollutants in drains

[3/26/04]Local high school students working with the United Way of West Central Mississippi will attempt to reduce the amount of pollution going into the Mississippi River.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed Thursday to help the United Way Teen Help group place on city storm drains markers urging people not to pollute. Most of the city storm drains run directly into the river through underground pipes.

Household sewage is treated at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

“We want to put these markers on the drains so people will realize how much pollution goes into the river,” said Joseph Beard, a junior at Vicksburg High School.

Volunteers from the 40 members of the Teen Help group will spend a day placing the markers on the storm drains and passing out fliers in adjacent neighborhoods informing residents about the program. City workers will help determine when and what areas will be included.

The red and white plastic markers about 3 inches wide and the door-hanging fliers will be provided by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. The markers have an illustration of a catfish and the words, “No dumping. Drains to River.”

“We just want to make people aware,” said Kimberly Cody, a senior at Warren Central High School.

She said the most common pollutants in the drains include motor oil, fertilizer, yard clippings and litter.

City officials said they may provide street sweepers for the day of the project and police officers to help ensure safety.

“I’m delighted that someone is finally taking this project on,” said Rosemary Bagby, director of the wastewater treatment plant.

City Planner Wayne Mansfield said the project could also be added to the city’s master plan to show ways the community handles pollution.

In other matters the city board:

Approved board meeting minutes from Feb. 10, 11 and 17.

Proclaimed the month of April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness month. The Child Abuse Prevention Center will hold a candlelight vigil at 5:30 p.m. Thursday starting at the Warren County Courthouse.

Received a bid for biosolid disposal.

Approved the purchase of radio read single port transceiver units for $360,000. The transceivers are for the new radio utility meters to be installed citywide.

Authorized the city clerk to advertise for sealed bids for uniforms, water treatment chemicals and grass-cutting services.

Approved street closings and curfew extensions for Riverfest on April 16 and 17.

Approved a $1,500 advertisement for the Jackson Touchdown Club program souvenir book. The banquet will be at 6:30 p.m. April 2 at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Approved $700 for the G.R.E.A.T. Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 10 at Vicksburg High School.

Authorized submitting a grant application to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for funding under the 2004 Assistance to Firefighters Grant program for handheld radios and faceplates with microphones.

Approved a settlement agreement to acquire the last parcel for the Clay and Hope streets project.

Approved overtime and equipment use for the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day on April 3.

The City Board will meet again at 10 a.m. April 5 at City Hall Annex.