Trash bag test proves to be a good idea for reservoir

Published: May. 30, 2012 at 12:01 AM CDT|Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 at 4:59 PM CST
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RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) - An experiment on the upper Pearl River, above the Barnett Reservoir is working. The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District and the private group known as "Keep the Rez Beautiful" teamed up to keep the sandbars free of trash.

The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, which operates the reservoir, was once paying up to $50,000 a year to keep these beaches clean. That has now been reduced to $6,000 a year and the cleanups will only come after the three major holiday weekends, Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day.

That new system requires individuals using the sandbars to put their trash in bags provided by a private group known as "Keep the Rez Beautiful." This was the first Memorial Day the voluntary system has been in effect and Reservoir Patrol Chief Perry Waggener was pleased with the result.

Waggener said, "Much better, the program has been a success and ultimately it will preserve this resource. You know, it's the public. They responded, and it's been very successful."

When asked if the littering problem was so bad, that it was to the point where John Sigman, the reservoir manager, was going to shut the beaches down, Waggener said, "Yes sir, he was."

"You know the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District is responsible for maintaining this resource. It's one of our charges. And it was being abused and it was to that point," said Waggener.

The cleanup this year will begin Wednesday, but, the beaches were kept virtually clean.

Flag Island, the largest of the sandbars, with just a few exceptions, has been kept clean over the Memorial Day weekend.

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