County supervisor wants mess removed from Ocean Springs waters

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Some Ocean Springs residents are concerned about a nasty mess below the Biloxi Bay Bridge.  They say when the tide recedes, debris left over from the old bridge emerges, exposing an unsightly and dangerous problem.

The morning view at the Ocean Springs Yacht Club Sunday was dotted with clutter. Along the beach lay a mess of concrete, rebar and other debris that Yacht Club Commodore Barney Banks never expected to see.

"When the bridge was rebuilt here in Ocean Springs, the bridge contractor came to us and asked to use our land on a rental basis to place dredge spoils," said Banks.  "And they agreed to clean it up afterward which they did.  And it was cleaned up to our satisfaction at that time."

But Banks said since then, the tide has gone down, revealing dangerous debris that wasn't visible during the cleanup.

Bank suspects much more of the muddy concrete mess lies beneath ocean waters, and he's gravely concerned about it.

"The children get out on the end of the pier, and jump off the pier and try to dive off the pier," explained Banks.  "And we actually have pieces of rebar protruding out of the water right at the end of our fishing pier, which causes a hazard in itself."

The Yacht Club has posted a sign on the beach warning of debris on the ocean floor.  Barnes said club members have also removed rebar themselves, and even hired a private contractor to remove some.  The problem also caught the attention of District 5 Supervisor John McKay.  He plans to ask the Jackson County Board Tuesday to help clean up the mess.

"We have Special Olympics kids out here.  They have two regattas every year, the yacht club people and public are walking along the beach," listed McKay.  "And this year also, we'll be hosting a national Hobie Cat thing and we will have people from all over the United States.  And we definitely don't want to bring somebody in from wherever and they get stuck by a piece of rebar and tear up their boat on a piece of rubble beneath the water."

Both McKay and Banks hope the area will be cleaned soon and permanently.

"We want it to be pretty, we want it to be safe," said McKay.  "And so it's a very important thing for us.  We want people to be able to use the beach and be safe."

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