Sarasota County beaches closed after high levels of bacteria found

VENICE, Fla. - Two popular tourist beaches in Sarasota County were closed to swimmers after high levels of bacteria were found in the water.

Venice Beach and Turtle Beach were both closed last week after testing found high levels of fecal bacteria in the the water at both beaches.

The Sarasota County Health Department immediately posted signs warning swimmers not to go into the water. 

The high levels of bacteria could cause swimmers to become sick or form a rash.  On Wednesday when folks showed up at Venice Beach to spend a day in the water, they found warning signs still posted. 

Phyllis Andella, who's visiting from Massachusetts, says she is frustrated. "You know when you're renting right here and the whole idea of renting is you've got a beach across the street and you can't use it fully the way you'd like to, it's very disappointing." says Andella.

The Health Department says they are investigating to find the source of the bacteria. Typically when this kind of bacteria level in the water it's from runoff after a heavy rainfall, but since there has been little rain, the county doesn't know what could be causing the failure.

"We continue to sample, we check for potential causes, we talk to local utilities to see if there is any reports of large sewage spills." said Chuck Henry with the Sarasota County Health Department.

Samples of the water were taken again on Wednesday, but they don't expect to get results until Thursday evening.

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