Beach bacteria warnings up from last year in Mississippi

By The Associated Press

BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s Department of Environmental Quality has posted more warnings of high bacteria levels along Mississippi beaches so far this year than in all of 2011.

But the head of the Harrison County Sand Beach Authority says there have been fewer sewer-related problems in the past few years than there used to be.

Chuck Loftis tells The Sun-Herald (http://bit.ly/K2oi7X) that’s because most cities replaced infrastructure such as sewers and pumping stations after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

But he notes that local rivers emptying into the Gulf of Mexico and drainage pipes from land on Highway 90 contribute bacteria.

MDEQ has issued 22 bacteria warnings at Gulf Coast beaches since January. During all of last year, it issued 21.