New EPA Testing Of Gulf Waters Could Provide Better Information On Beach Closures

The Environmental Protection agency has a lot of questions for visitors of South Mississippi beaches.

In fact from now until labor day they'll be asking such questions as part of the EPA's and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's' Neear Water Study.

"NEEAR stands for National Epidemiological and Environmental Assessment of Recreational Water," explains Elizabeth Ann Sams, Coordinator of the NEEAR Water Study.

It's a nation wide, four year study of public beaches aimed at better understanding the links between water pollution, swimming at beaches, and people's health.

It's all an effort to improve and speed up the process of measuring the waters health against that of the those who enjoy it's pleasures.

"And hopefully what these tests will do is they can actually go out on a Saturday morning at 8 a.m. and do a test and by 10 a.m. they will have an answer," says Sams.

That means beach advisories can be posted long before beach goers hit them.

Volunteers who participate may give up a little of their free time to answer the questions but those who complete the study and the follow up phone survey are rewarded with a free gift and a check for 25 dollars.

Sams says the ultimate reward willl be, "Faster better methods to protect beach goers."