Sarasota County joined forces with the Sarasota and Manatee County Health Departments, the Town of Longboat Key, the Cities of Sarasota and Venice, and the Englewood Water District to establish an "Action Plan" to minimize adverse human health impacts from bacteria exposure and avert "No-Swim Advisories" at County beaches.
The County Health Department samples 16 beaches weekly for enterococcus bacteria. Occasionally, sample values exceed the standards established to protect public health, and the impacted beach is posted with a "No-Swim" Advisory until further sampling indicates that the water is safe for swimming.
Identifying the source is challenging because the bacteria come from many human and non-human sources. As part of the Action Plan, a baseline sanitary survey identifying sampling sites, utility infrastructure, fire hydrants, stormwater outfalls, septic tanks, and other potential sources of bacterial contamination was prepared for each of the 16 beaches. These maps and other beach-specific information may be accessed by using the interactive map below.