WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - State officials have closed the beach and parts of Beach Boulevard in Waveland due to huge amounts of tar balls washing up on the shore and on the road.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has closed the beach from Nicholson Avenue to the Silver Slipper Casino at Bayou Caddy.
MDEQ Director Trudy Fisher told WLOX News, "There's more coverage than we've seen anywhere. You can't walk anywhere on the beach without walking on it, stepping on it."
Fisher said the water is up to the seawall, bringing much more of the oily material to shore.
Hancock County Emergency Management Public Information Officer Jerry Beaugez told WLOX Beach Boulevard in Hancock County, from Sears Avenue to Lakeshore Road is also closed because of road construction and because tar balls are washing over the roadbed.
The sections from Sears Avenue to Nicholson Avenue and from Lakeshore Road to the Silver Slipper are open.
The sand beach from Nicholson Avenue to the Silver Slipper is closed.
The Hancock County Board of Supervisors and the Emergency Management Director agreed the beach must be closed.
People will not be allowed on the beach in the closed area. Fisher says it will take at least two days to clean up the beach.
The MDEQ advises people to use common sense and take appropriate precautions if coming 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.