Beaches open, but advisory areas expanded in Harrison County - - The News for South Mississippi

Beaches open, but advisory areas expanded in Harrison County


BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - State health and environmental officials have expanded the beach advisory areas, warning beach-goers to avoid areas where tar balls and oil material are washing ashore.

Monday, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR), and the Mississippi State Department of Health issued an advisory for the area from Veterans Avenue to Miramar.

Tuesday, officials extended the existing beach advisory in Harrison County to the west from the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor on the west to Azalea Avenue in Biloxi on the east.  This area had significant amounts tar mats and tar patties on the beach. The heaviest concentrations were between White Avenue in Biloxi and Cowan Road in Gulfport.

Officials stress these beaches are not closed and beach goers may continue to use the beaches, but the agencies advise people to be aware of their surroundings while recreating.The advisory issued Monday in Jackson County remains in effect and includes the area from Main Street in the Belle Fountain area west to Seashore Avenue.

Though Governor Barbour and others continue to say the oil material washing up in South Mississippi is not toxic, MDEQ and the Beach Monitoring Task Force recommend that people avoid contact with oil-related materials such as tar balls and tar mats, and to stay out of the water if these materials are visible.

The Mississippi State Department of Health has provided these tips for people who come in contact with oil materials:

  • Avoid direct skin contact with the oil.
  • If you get oil on your skin, wash it off with soap and water.
  • Wash your hands before eating to avoid accidentally swallowing oil.
  • If you get oil on clothing, wash it in the usual way.
  • Prolonged exposure to the oil may cause some to have a skin rash.
  • There is no need to use harsh detergents, solvents or other chemicals to wash oil from your skin or clothing, and their use is discouraged.

Detailed maps of the advisory areas other information abut beach monitoring are available at:

MDEQ and the Beach Monitoring Task Force will continue to advise the public when oil-related materials are found. The nature of this oil spill is such that patches of these type materials could show up in other areas in the near future.

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