‘No Swim’ advisory issued for Sarasota County Beach
SARASOTA COUNTY ‐ As a precaution, on August 9th Sarasota County health officials issued a "No Swim" advisory for the following beach:
The amount of enterococcus bacteria found during water quality testing on Thursday, Aug. 9 was outside acceptable limits. The beach remains open, however, wading, swimming and water recreation is not recommended as long as there is an advisory in place.
Some bacteria are naturally present in the environment. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found a link between health and water quality. Signage advising the public not to swim or engage in water recreation will stay in place until follow-up water testing results meet the EPA's recreational water quality standard. The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County expects to have the next round of test results available onFriday, August 10th.
Enterococcus bacteria can come from a variety of natural and human-made sources. These include pet waste, livestock, birds, wildlife (land-dwelling and marine), storm water runoff, and human sewage from failed septic systems and sewage spills.
No sewage spills have been reported within one mile of the beach in the past month.
The rapid response team from Sarasota County has determined the cause of the elevated bacteria levels is likely due to natural sources. The team observed a wrack line of decaying algae and dead fish associated with red tide impacting the area along the shoreline. Wrack lines, which provide food for shorebirds and wildlife, act as natural bacteria reservoirs. Recent rains washing accumulated pollutants, including bacteria from birds, pet feces, and wildlife into local waters are also an important factor.
DOH-Sarasota Environmental Administrator Tom Higginbotham emphasizes that the Florida Healthy Beaches program protects beach goers when conditions are unsuitable for swimming by testing beach water and providing up-to-date explanations of the results.
"When these bacteria are found at high levels in recreational waters, there is a risk that some people may become ill. People especially those who are very young, elderly or who have a weak immune system who swallow water while swimming can get stomach or intestinal illnesses. If water comes in contact with a cut or sore, people can get infections or rashes." says Higginbotham.
Local health officials emphasize that beaches remain open. However, residents and visitors are urged not to wade, swim or engage in water recreation at these beaches until the advisory is lifted. In addition, you should not eat shellfish such as crabs and shrimp collected in the immediate area of any beach with a no-swim advisory in place. Finfish caught live and healthy can be eaten if filleted.
"Our coastline of over 30 miles of world-class beaches is a wonderful asset to our community," says Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County. "Let's work together to help preserve this amenity."
To help keep beach water safe for swimming and recreation, do not allow pets to roam on beaches and in park areas, and pick up pet waste. Additionally, children in diapers and people of all ages with diarrhea should not go into the water.
Testing has revealed bacteria levels within acceptable limits at the following area beaches:
South Lido Park Beach
Lido Casino Beach
Longboat Key Beach
North Lido Beach
North Jetty Beach
Venice Pier Beach
Manasota Key Beach
Service Club Beach
"It is important to know that our beaches are never closed," says Haley. "When making beach day plans, be sure to check the latest reports on beach conditions and read beach condition signs at beach entrance ways. The signs are also posted on lifeguard stands when present."
Source: Department of Health – Sarasota