State issues more water warnings for Gulf Coast beaches due to bacteria

Published 8:46 pm Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), through its Beach Monitoring Program, issued three water contact advisories Saturday for Station 14 (Front Beach), Station 15 (Shearwater Beach), and Station 19 (Pascagoula Beach West). An advisory remains in effect for Station 8 (Gulfport West Beach).

These segments of beach are not closed; however, there may be an increased risk of illness associated with swimming in these areas. When water samples show that levels are safe for human contact, the advisories will be lifted.

An advisory is issued when bacteria levels exceed water quality criteria and pose an increased risk to human health. Under the Mississippi Beach Monitoring Program, water is tested for the presence of Enterococcus bacteria, which is an indicator for bacteria pollution. When an advisory is issued, water contact should be avoided.

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The advisories are issued for:

Station 14 — Front Beach (Ocean Springs) — the extent is from the Yacht Club east to Jackson Ave.
Station 15 — Shearwater Beach (Ocean Springs) — the extent is from Weeks Bayou east to Ashley Place.
Station 19 — Pascagoula Beach West — the extent is from Oliver St. east to Westwood St.

An advisory remains in effect for:
Station 8 — Gulfport West Beach — the extent is from Marie Ave. east to Camp Ave.

Swimmers are reminded that the Beach Task Force has a standing recommendation that swimming not occur during or within 24 hours of a significant rainfall event.

As a reminder, MDEQ lifted water contact warnings on October 4 when results for water samples collected October 2 for toxicity testing for a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) were all below the EPA guidelines of 8 parts per billion for microcystin toxin.