Two Sections Of Beach Close On Fourth Of July

The State Department of Environmental Quality has ordered both stretches of the beach in Gulfport closed, because of high levels of bacteria in the water. The first is near the Cowan Road area between Laurel Drive and Anniston Avenue. The other is in front of the Gulfport V-A between Alfonso and Arkansas Drive.

On Friday, signs went up along the affected areas, warning swimmers to stay out of the water, because it poses a potential health risk. Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver says the closings are necessary because recent rainfall and Tropical Storm Bill washed pollution into the Sound.

The beach closings could hurt some nearby businesses, like Wet Willy's Water Park on Highway 90. The manager says this is hitting them during a very busy holiday weekend.

David Evans said "Anytime that the people aren't able to come to the beach, directly across from us, it's going to affect our business a little bit. Fourth of July is one of our busiest times of the year. We expect a lot of in town customers, and out of town customers, and it's definitely not a good time for this to happen to us".

The MDEQ will continue to test the water to determine if it's safe. Until then, those two sections of the beach in Gulfport are temporarily off-limits to swimmers.