Beach water advisories have been issued for the Lido, Turtle and North Jetty beaches, Sarasota County Health Department officials announced late Thursday, July 19.
Health Department officials received testing results from beach water samples taken Wednesday, July 18, that show an elevated level of enterococci (enteric) bacteria, a news release says.
Signs advising the public not to swim in or engage in water recreation at Lido, Turtle and North Jetty beaches will be posted until follow-up water testing results meet the Environmental Protection Agency recreational water safety standards, the news release adds.
The Health Department plans to conduct follow-up water sampling Friday, July 20, with results expected in the afternoon on Saturday, July 21.
“We never like to issue advisories and are sensitive to their impact on the community,” says Tom Higginbotham, Sarasota County Health Department’s environmental health administrator, in the news release. “However, the intent of the Florida Healthy Beaches program is to provide residents and visitors with accurate, up-to-date information about the water quality at our 16 area beaches. Enteric bacteria can come from stormwater runoff, pet waste and wildlife and human sewage. High concentrations of these bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, infections or rashes if ingested while swimming or after entering the skin through a cut or sore.”
Residents and visitors may still use the Lido Casino, Turtle Beach and North Jetty beaches, but they are urged not to wade or swim in the water or engage in water recreation until the advisory is lifted.
Additionally, health officials say shellfish collected in the immediate area of Lido, Turtle and North Jetty beaches, or from any beach water that has a brown tint, should not be consumed. However, it is safe to fish from those beaches and consume fin-fish from those waters, the release says.
Residents and tourists can visit www.OurGulfEnvironment.net and click on “water monitoring,” then “bacterial testing,” to check beach-water testing results of area Gulf of Mexico beaches, or call the Sarasota County Health Department Environmental Health office at 941-861-6133.