Bay St. Louis business owners say closed beach won't impact them

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - As we first told you Monday the Mississippi DEQ closed part of the Bay St. Louis beach front after a sewer lift station malfunctioned causing a spill.

Everyone seems to heed the warnings. Fishermen and beach goers steered clear of the danger zones Tuesday.

"Sewer is a product that when it gets into our waterways you need to stay clear of it. If someone doesn't heed the warning goes out there swimming gets water in their mouth they can get some of the contamination in their body. And they can get sick from it," said Bay St.Louis Public Works Director William "Buddy" Zimmerman.

The beach closed signs went up Tuesday after the motors in one of the city's 43 sewer lift stations was struck by lightning.

"It's the second biggest in Bay St. Louis over the weekend. We came in Monday morning and both motors were out of service," explained Zimmerman.

Public works crews put a bypass pump on the lift station Monday then replaced that one with a larger one over night.

"We've got it under control. It will operate perfectly. It's just, we'd like to get the electrical motors back in there, where they are supposed to be," said Zimmerman.

The beach is closed from Carroll Avenue near the downtown tourist area to Cedar Point on Julia Street. The concern from some downtown business owners is if the beach will be open for tourists this weekend.  But the owner of Twin Light Creations Pam Collins told WLOX if it had to happen now, it's the best time.

"If you have to pick a point and time of year this is really not a bad time. It's just not a bad time business drops off anyway," said Collins.

DEQ officials will be testing the waters daily.

Zimmerman said, "Hopefully by Monday we get a clean bill of health and everybody can get back on the beach front."

City leaders say approximately 200,000 gallons of sewage was spilled, but they say a lot of it was recovered and pumped back into the system.

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