Next testing results expected on Friday, July 30
The amount of enterococcus bacteria found during water quality testing on Monday, July 26, was outside acceptable limits at North Lido Beach, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) has reported.
The beach remains open, but wading, swimming and water recreation are not recommended as long as an advisory remains in place, a news release stresses.
No one should eat shellfish, such as crabs and shrimp, collected in the immediate area of any beach with a no-swim advisory in place, the report emphasizes, the release also points out. “Finfish caught live and healthy can be eaten if they have been filleted,” it says.
“Some bacteria are naturally present in the environment. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found a link between health and water quality,” the release adds. “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 on Friday, July 30, the release says.
No sewage spills have been reported within 1 mile of the posted beach in the past two weeks, the release notes.
“The rapid response team from Sarasota County has determined the cause of the elevated bacteria levels is likely due to natural sources,” the release continues. “The team observed a wrack line of decaying algae and numerous dead and decaying fish” associated with the red tide bloom in the Gulf of Mexico. The debris was observed among the rocks and along the shoreline, the release adds. “Wrack lines, which provide food for shorebirds and wildlife, act as natural bacteria reservoirs.” (See the related article in this issue.)
Additionally, the release explains, recent rainfall in the area, which washed accumulated pollutants — including bacteria from birds, pet feces and wildlife — into local waters may be a contributing factor.
DOH-Sarasota Environmental Administrator Tom Higginbotham emphasizes that the Florida Healthy Beaches program protects beach goers when conditions are unsuitable for swimming. “We do this 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,” Higginbotham added. People — especially those who are very young or elderly, and those who have weak immune systems or persons who swallow water while swimming — can get stomach or intestinal illnesses, he noted in the release. “If water comes into contact with a cut or sore, people can get infections or rashes,” Higginbotham also pointed out.
Testing has revealed bacteria levels within acceptable limits at the following area beaches: Longboat Key Beach, South Lido Park Beach, Lido Casino Beach, Brohard Beach, Siesta Key Beach, Nokomis Beach, Bird Key Park Beach, Caspersen Beach, Venice Fishing Pier Beach, Venice Beach, Turtle Beach, Blind Pass, Manasota Key Beach, Service Club Beach, and North Jetty Beach.
More information is available about beach conditions from a variety of sources, the release notes:
- Visit https://ourgulfenvironment.net and click on “water monitoring” and then “bacterial testing” to check beach water testing results of area Gulf beaches.
- Call 941-BEACHES (941-232-2437) or visit http://www.visitbeaches.org. Click on the same link to the mobile-friendly version of the beach conditions report.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides a Gulf of Mexico harmful algal bloom (HAB) forecast, which is being updated twice weekly while the bloom persists. That can be found at https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/hab/gomx.html.