Biloxi & Gulfport Beaches Reopen

The beaches are open in Biloxi and Gulfport just in time for the 4th of July weekend.

Signs warning people to stay out of the water came down Wednesday afternoon in Biloxi between I'berville Drive and Travia Avenue. That area was shut down June 19th because of high bacteria levels.

A motel owner faces charges that he deliberately pumped raw sewage into the storm drain that leads to the beach. The DEQ says daily water tests show the bacteria levels are in the safe range so people can go back into the water.

In Gulfport, the section of the beach between Thornton Avenue and 19th Avenue closed last week after high readings that followed heavy rain.

The reopening could not have come at a better time for Coast beach vendors. One local hotel owner says every time the beach closes, it affects every business on the Coast.
"Every business on the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast loses business when we have a beach closing or any type of bad information regarding our waters out there," John Bosch said. "The perception is families don't want to travel to areas with polluted waters."
"We want everybody to know that we have a beautiful area down here and we are clean," Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver said. "We do the testing as a safety precaution. It is unfortunate when we have areas, but we are being honest with the public and tourists who do come here that when we do have a problem, we want them to know about it."

The DEQ says it will test the water again over the holiday weekend.