No Swim Advisory Issues for Brohard Beach in Sarasota County

Government

SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY MAY 22, 2020

The amount of enterococcus bacteria found during water quality testing on Monday, May 18 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 Friday, May 22.

Enterococcus bacteria can come from a variety of natural and human-made sources. These include pet waste, livestock, birds, wildlife (land-dwelling and marine), stormwater runoff, and human sewage from failed septic systems and sewage spills.The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County expects to have the next round of test results available Friday, May 22. No sewage spills have been reported within one mile of the posted beach in the past two weeks.

The rapid response teams from Sarasota County and the City of Venice have determined that the elevated bacteria levels were likely caused by the natural environment. Recent rainfall may also be a contributing factor as it washes pollutants such as bacteria from birds and pet and wildlife feces into local water bodies.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. People who are very young, elderly, or who have a weak immune system who swallow beach water 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.

The Department of Health reminds everyone to stay safe from COVID-19. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread mainly from person to person. All beach visitors are encouraged to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others and avoiding crowds and gatherings of more than 10 people. Stay home if you do not feel well or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19. Wash your hands often and take hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol with you.

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