Harrison County

These Coast beaches were “potentially unsafe” for swimmers in 2018, report says

Algae bloom is closing Mississippi Coast beaches

A green-blue algae is blooming in the Mississippi Sound, fueled by the Mississippi River fresh water filled with sediments. That algae can cause major health risks and adds to the issues caused by the opening of the Bonnet Carré spillway.
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A green-blue algae is blooming in the Mississippi Sound, fueled by the Mississippi River fresh water filled with sediments. That algae can cause major health risks and adds to the issues caused by the opening of the Bonnet Carré spillway.

A new report by Environment America says all 21 Mississippi Coast beaches “indicated potentially unsafe levels of contamination” in 2018, according to a USA Today article.

Each beach was sampled multiple times last year, according to the report, and all of the samples revealed that the beaches were potentially unsafe for at least one day.

Here are the top 10 Coast beaches by most potentially unsafe swimming days in 2018:

  • Gulfport East Beach Days sampled: 66 Days potentially unsafe: 44
  • Shearwater Beach Days sampled: 64 Days potentially unsafe: 35
  • Long Beach Days sampled: 67 Days potentially unsafe: 35
  • Gulfport Central Beach Days sampled: 62 Days potentially unsafe: 35
  • Courthouse Road Beach Days sampled: 60 Days potentially unsafe: 34
  • Front Beach Days sampled: 60 Days potentially unsafe: 33
  • Edgewater Beach Days sampled: 61 Days potentially unsafe: 32
  • Pass Christian West Beach Days sampled: 63 Days potentially unsafe: 30
  • Biloxi West Central Beach Days sampled: 57 Days potentially unsafe: 29
  • Pass Christian East Beach Days sampled: 59 Days potentially unsafe: 28

Beach sites were considered “potentially unsafe” if samples exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Beach Action Value (BAV), which corresponds to an estimated illness rate of 32 per 1,000 swimmers, according to the report.

A harmful algae bloom closed all Coast beaches earlier this month. The HAB forms in freshwater, which could be link to the opening on the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

Officials are in the process of closing the spillway after it was open for 118 days this year.

Britneé Davis is McClatchy’s South Region Digital Producer. The south region includes the Sun Herald, the Telegraph, and the Ledger-Enquirer.
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