Another Section Of Beach Closed

It's become an unfortunate sign of summer. Another section of beach is closed because of high bacteria levels.

The latest warning signs are posted on a section of beach that's been closed before.

It's in Gulfport between Anniston Avenue and Laurel Drive.

The Department of Environmental Quality orders the warning signs posted when its daily water sampling shows a high bacteria count in two consecutive samples.

The problem could possibly be a sewage leak somewhere or heavy rains simply washing bacteria into the Sound from upstream.

"We both stopped and immediately read them. And knew right then we would not be in the water," said Mary Meredith, as she sun bathed near the "No Swimming" warning signs.

Meredith and her friend noticed the warning signs right aways. The Atlanta visitors are spending a few days relaxing following a teacher's conference in Dallas.

They wonder what makes the water safe just beyond the signs.

"The water just doesn't stop and become automatically clear at that point. So how can it be unsafe on this side of the sign and safe on the other side of the sign," she questioned.

Bob Carlisle manages the Chateau de la Mer resort. His visitors enjoy the convenience of the nearby beach. Since the area has been closed before, some of his guests now call ahead and ask if the beach is open.

"I think the state and the county and city need to become much more concerned about sources of pollution, starting with septic tanks and other things, coming up more to the standards of other states that are more progressive," said Carlisle.

The manager says the nasty water in a drainage ditch just east of his property could be a contributor. He'd like the city to check out the culvert. It drains into the nearby Sound.

A study will take a closer look at what's causing the pollution problem.

"Sometimes you just can't put your finger on it. It's frustrating," said Bobby Weaver.

Weaver is the Sand Beach director.

He's hopeful the pollution study could help pinpoint the source.

"Is it a result of maybe old septic tanks that's leaching out into the drainage canals and being flushed out during rain events. We're not sure, but we hope to take this half million dollars and come up with some answers to address this issue," said Weaver.

The beach won't be re opened until two consecutive water samples come back clean.

By Steve Phillips