MDEQ lifts water contact warnings for Coast beaches

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality through its beach monitoring program lifted water contact warnings on Friday for all beaches along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

But does that mean everyone is ready to jump in just yet?

If you take a walk down the beach you might notice something missing. The orange flags that let visitors know not to get in the water are now gone.

It’s been a long summer for businesses along the Gulf Coast as the harmful blue green algae blooms took over the waters. Coastal Mississippi CEO Milton Segarra said, “Having this situation over the summer months, which is our big season, was really negative to many of us and to some partners more than others.”

Just in time for the busiest week of the year, the water contact advisory has been lifted, but Marilynn Johnson, a vacationer from Texas, says she sees more people focused on the road than on the beach. “Not many people were out here now and there aren’t many people, more birds, less people, but I like that.”

Even though the waters have been cleared, not everyone is ready to jump in. Johnson says while she enjoys sitting on the beach, she won’t be testing the waters just yet. “I just wanted to sit and watch the waves, so no I don’t trust the waters yet.”

Segarra says this summer was a great learning experience for them and they are ready to move forward into the fall and winter months. “We’ll learn from this and make sure if it happens again, and we hope it doesn’t, but if this happens again, we will be more prepared to manage it immediately.”

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