High bacteria levels have forced the Mississippi Department of Enviornmental Quality to close a portion of the beach in Gulfport. Today's routine testing showed unhealthy levels of fecal coliform on the beach near Lorraine Cowan Road. One half mile of the beach on either side of Lorraine-Cowan Road is closed to all swimming and water activities, including the sand area until water samples show a consistent safe level for human contact. Heavy rains along the coast are believed to have brought in bad water from the sewers. The MDEQ will take daily samples until good samples are retreived two days in a row. The beach will re-open when bacteria levels are safe. The last beach closure was in March. All other beach sites are safe for recreational activities.