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Why is swimming in Sound unsafe now?

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality beach advisory sign is at the Pass Christian Central Beach reporting station in March 2011.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality beach advisory sign is at the Pass Christian Central Beach reporting station in March 2011. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

Water is considered unsafe for swimming along Harrison and Jackson county beaches in seven high-profile areas and in two spots where advisories were previously issued, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said.

MDEQ said swimmers should avoid the Mississippi Sound around Edgewater, West Central and East beaches in Biloxi; Front and Shearwater beaches in Ocean Springs; and East and West beaches in Pascagoula. MDEQ already had no-contact advisories for Central and East beaches in Gulfport.

Advisories often accompany heavy rainfall, but that’s not the case here.

“I know there have been high wind levels down there, so there’s a lot of wave action,” said Doug Upton, MDEQ’s chief of field services. “We’ve seen that in our historical data. Whenever those sediments get stirred up through wind and wave action, the bacteria in that sediment gets stirred up. That’s why we’re seeing so many closures right now.”

MDEQ Executive Director Gary Rikard said the state will announce plans Nov. 15 for the next round of $1.2 billion in restoration funding from the 2010 BP oil catastrophe. The summit will be held at the Coast Convention Center in Biloxi.

In cases of heavy rainfall, Rikard acknowledged water-quality issues often are associated with breaches in sewer pipes along the Coast.

He said, “We believe we will have funding available in this next round for water quality improvements, and that includes wastewater improvements.”

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

Warning: Stay out of the water here

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has advised against swimming in the following areas, although the beaches remain open.

Station 11A: Edgewater Beach in Biloxi, from DeBuys Road east to Edgewater Avenue

Station 12A: Biloxi West Central Beach, from Travia Street east to Iberville Drive

Station 12B: Biloxi East Central Beach, from St. Peter Street east to Dukate Street

Station 14: Front Beach in Ocean Springs, from the Yacht Club east to Jackson Avenue

Station 15: Shearwater Beach in Ocean Springs, from Weeks Bayou east to Ashley Place

Station 19: Pascagoula Beach West, from Oliver Street east to Westwood Street

Station 20: Pascagoula Beach East, from Westwood Street east to Grand Oaks Drive

Advisories remain in effect here:

Station 10: Gulfport Central Beach, from Alfonso Drive east to Arkansas Avenue

Station 11: Gulfport East Beach, from Tegarden Road east to Anniston Avenue

MDEQ

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