SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Since last Saturday, several water advisories have been issued in South Mississippi. According to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, there are 10 areas of concern right now along beaches in four coastal cities.
"It goes back to the sampling. When it reaches that certain number above that threshold for the water quality criteria, that's when it triggers an advisory. So it could vary from segment to segment along the coast what could cause a certain advisory," said MDEQ Communications Director Robbie Wilbur.
The water is tested for the presence of Enterococcus bacteria. MDEQ officials say even though these advisories are usually caused by rainfall, they can also be triggered by animals, boating waste, and sewage leaks.
Even though it's enough to cause concern, it's not enough to completely shut down the beach.
"We strongly recommend no water contact for that segment of beach, but the public can certainly enjoy the sand portion of that beach where there is an advisory. We just advise swim at your own risk in that area," said Wilbur.
Several visitors we spoke with said they were already planning to stay out of the water.
"I wouldn't be getting in the water anyway, it's kinda dirty. It looks a lot browner than it was," Margie Stall said. "You'd think the gulf would be pretty and blue, and it's kinda brown even though it's pretty and sunny out today."
Some have worried that Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 may have contributed to an increase in gulf pollution.
"I've never been told not to go into the water until lately," Biloxi resident Natosha Humphreys said. "It's only been a few years lately that I've been told not to go into the water because of different things."
On November 15, the MDEQ will host a Restoration Summit at the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center. It's an opportunity for the public to learn more about Deepwater Horizon restoration efforts already underway in Mississippi, and ways the community can become more engaged.