Harrison County

West Gulfport beach closed for high level of bacteria, MDEQ says

The waters of a west Gulfport beach are closed to the public after the presence of Enterococcus bacteria was found, the state said Thursday evening.

The beach waters are closed from Marie Avenue to Camp Avenue, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said in an advisory.

Enterococcus bacteria only comes from warm-blooded animals or humans and it indicates contamination by fecal waste, according to the EPA. The bacteria thrive in water contaminated with sewage or storm water runoff, MDEQ has said, and scientists often use the bacteria to indicate the presence of harder-to-detect, disease-causing microorganisms.

There may be an increased risk of illness associated with swimming in that area, MDEQ said, and the advisory will be lifted after water samples show it is safe for human contact.

“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,” MDEQ said.

Last month, all the beaches were reopened after being closed all summer because of the presence of possibly toxic blue-green algae related to the freshwater intrusion from the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

To receive beach advisories directly, fill out a contact form at http://opcgis.deq.state.ms.us/beaches/contact.html to get emails, text “MDEQbeach” to 95577, or follow MDEQ on Twitter: @MDEQ.

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