Four new water advisories in place for Coast beaches

Four new water advisories in place for Coast beaches
Red flags were posted in July at Ocean Springs Front Beach warning people to stay out of the water.

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Just over a week after all of the water advisories across South Mississippi were lifted, health officials are warning against four new locations.

Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality issued three water contact advisories on Saturday due to bacteria pollution, bringing the total number of advisories in effect to four.

Advisories for the following locations were put into effect Saturday: Front Beach in Ocean Springs from the Yacht Club east to Jackson Avenue, Shearwater Beach in Ocean Springs from Weeks Bayou east to Ashley Place, and Pascagoula Beach West from Oliver Street to Westwood Street. An advisory for Gulfport West Beach from Marie Avenue to Camp Avenue was issued Thursday, Oct. 10.

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.

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

Water advisories for all South Mississippi beaches were in effect for most of the summer after the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway caused trillions of gallons of freshwater to spill into the Mississippi Sound, resulting in harmful algal blooms. Those water contact warnings caused red flags to go up at all of the coast beaches, warning people against getting in the water.

All of the water advisories related to the algae were lifted on Oct. 4. According to MDEQ, tests were done two days earlier on Oct. 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.

More information about the Mississippi Beach Monitoring Program and the location of beach sampling stations is available at: http://opcgis.deq.state.ms.us/beaches.

To receive beach advisories directly, fill out a contact form at http://opcgis.deq.state.ms.us/beaches/contact.html for inclusion in a public group email list, text “MDEQbeach” to 95577, or follow MDEQ on Twitter: @MDEQ.

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