Residents fed up with Turkey Creek contamination

Turkey Creek in Gulfport. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Turkey Creek in Gulfport. (Photo source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Turkey Creek in Gulfport has been the center of several problems for its surrounding communities for some time. Those neighborhoods are now calling for action.

"Hopefully, with the proper moneys, adequate moneys, and the adequate engineering help, that the flooding problem can be eradicated," said James Black. He's the executive director of the Center of Environmental and Economic Justice, which has been a main player in the fight to stop the problems.

Black said fixing the creek's issues is extremely important to the well being of the people who live near it.

"And particularly the health being impacted by the contaminants and toxins in Turkey Creek," said Black.

He believes that many of the creek's problems can be traced back to manmade environmental issues for almost two decades. Now, he says the process to find a solution has finally started.

Meetings have been held that bring together numerous federal and state agencies to discuss the issues. But Black said residents have done a lot to get the ball rolling.

"The community has been very active in asking for state and federal help to get it corrected," said Black.

Several petitions have been making the rounds through the neighborhoods. Ida White sees them as a chance to take action.

"I mailed in several from my family and we've been trying to get everyone in the neighborhood to be in on this," said White.

She hopes her efforts will gain the attention needed to solve the creek's issues. Her motivation is hope for her grandchildren to eventually see a clean community without the worries of contaminated floodwaters. She knows it could be a long fight.

"We're not giving up. We need the help, small community, but we all call it home," said White.

Several agencies met Monday to discuss the contamination issues. These included the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, the MS Department of Environmental Quality, and MDOT. There is no timeline on when any work could be done to fix the problems. Another meeting is scheduled in January for further discussions.

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