The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality issued additional closures Wednesday for three beach stations in Harrison County due to a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) extending into those areas.
The previous closures issued for 16 other beach stations in Hancock County, Harrison County, and Jackson County remain in effect. Sampling in the Pass Christian Harbor, the Bay St. Louis Harbor, and the Long Beach Harbor has also indicated the presence of an HAB.
The additional stations closed Wednesday are:
· Station 11 – Gulfport East Beach
· Station 12B – Biloxi East Central Beach
· Station 13A – Gulfport Harbor Beach
Beach closures remain in effect for: Lakeshore, Buccaneer State Park, Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi and Ocean Springs.
MDEQ advises people, and their pets, to avoid water contact such as swimming or wading because exposure to the blue-green HAB can be harmful. The closures don’t prohibit use of the sand portion of a beach.
The algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. MDEQ advises that those exposed wash with soap and water and to not eat fish or any other seafood taken from affected areas.
MDEQ also issued a water contact advisory July 2 for a segment of the Jourdan River in Hancock County from the I-10 bridge to the mouth of the river into St. Louis Bay. MDEQ encourages the public to be aware of their surroundings and notify the agency and/or local emergency management officials if they see HAB in other sections of the river or anywhere else on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. An algal bloom is the rapid growth of algae on the surface of the water.
MDEQ will continue sampling this holiday weekend. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and MDEQ analyzed the samples, and the two agencies are working together examining the HAB situation.