Testing the Waters
A state monitoring program tests the waters of the Mississippi coast and issues advisories if needed. What are they testing for and where? We have the info and the links to make it easy to check before you swim.
- story by Lisa Monti
Doug Upton, chief of MDEQ’s field service division that does all monitoring across state, said the water samples are collected at least once a week by staffers at MDEQ’s regional office in Biloxi. The samples are analyzed at a private lab in Ocean Springs and results are typically reported in 24 hours.
What they’re looking for is Enterococci bacteria, which Upton calls “an indicator organism” that signals pollution caused by stormwater runoff, wildlife, boating waste or sewer overflows. High winds and heavy rainfall can also increase bacteria levels in our coastal waters. That’s why the Beach Task Force recommends not swimming during or within 24 hours of significant rainfall.
Below: the Four Hancock County Monitoring Stations