County seeks state OK to put debris near gin

Published 12:29 pm Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Seeking to avoid the kind of reimbursement dispute that followed Hurricane Katrina, Warren County will seek state approval before deciding where to place tree limbs and other non-structural debris from the April 24 tornado that ravaged parts of 17 Mississippi counties, including the Eagle Lake community.

Supervisors agreed Monday to apply to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to use an area near the Simmons Planting Company cotton gin on Mississippi 465 for wind-blown debris from the twister, blamed for 10 deaths after leaving Warren County and, according to state and federal damage assessment teams, major damage to 390 homes in the state.

Counties must prove a lack of existing available landfill facilities and must have sustained enough damage to warrant the state’s written approval of a debris collection site — the key to having FEMA pay local governments for cleanup costs.

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After Katrina in 2005, vegetation was collected quickly by county crews, but put in unapproved private pits and holes, which held up reimbursements until 2009.

The site near the gin is the closest feasible site, Emergency Management Director Gwen Coleman said, reiterating the site would not allow the burning of structural debris such as wood framing from destroyed homes.

MDEQ has encouraged taking storm debris to solid waste management facilities in “high-impact areas” in the tornado’s path. In Warren County, those sites are the Waste Management-Vicksburg Municipal Solid Waste Transfer Station on Mississippi 27, Vicksburg-Warren County Landfill on Pit Road, off U.S. 80, and Warren County Waste Control, on Jeff Davis Road.

Supervisors also signed papers allowing FEMA to use Eagle Lake Volunteer Fire Department as a disaster recovery center for 30 days. Its opening will be announced by FEMA. Warren has been approved for individual assistance, along with Monroe, Union, Attala, Choctaw, Holmes and Yazoo. Residents in those counties may register for assistance with the federal agency at 1-800-621-3362 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. or log on to