The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (M.D.E.Q.) may lose funding if the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) moves forward with regulation changes. M.D.E.Q. receives grant money to conduct beach water monitoring, so the public knows what beaches are safe to swim in, but if M.D.E.Q. cannot buy new testing equipment required by the regulations, the E.P.A. may take that funding away. The funding cuts would mean less frequent water monitoring, and swimmers potentially entering beach water that is unsafe. However, many factors affect the quality of our beach water.
Dawn Rebarchick, a Gulf Coast Research Lab Associate, says, “If there is a sewage lift station failure, if there is a power interruption associated with lift stations, or if there is just some other type malfunction or break in the sewer line, that's definitely going to have a direct impact on the beaches and M.D.E.Q. will issue a direct closure for those beaches.”
Sewer leakage is just one more reason to continue frequent water monitoring. The E.P.A. will make its decision on whether to cut beach monitoring funding by October 1st.