SARASOTA, Fla. — A no swim advisory is in place at three Sarasota County beaches ahead of Independence Day.
Venice, Brohard and Lido Casino beaches are all under no swim advisories after routine weekly water quality testing results. Health officials say the amount of enterococcus bacteria found were outside acceptable limits.
The beaches are still open, but officials say swimming is not recommended as long as the advisory is in place. The results of the next water testing will be available July 4 after 2 p.m., officials say.
"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," DOH-Sarasota Environmental Administrator Tom Higginbotham said.
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.
No sewage spills have been reported within one mile of the posted beaches in the past two weeks, health officials say.
Health officials say the increase is likely due to natural sources.
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.
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.
"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."
Testing has revealed bacteria levels within acceptable limits at the following area beaches:
Longboat Key Beach, South Lido Park Beach, Siesta Beach, North Lido Beach, Nokomis Beach, Bird Key Park Beach, Caspersen Beach, Blind Pass, Manasota Key Beach, Venice Pier Beach, Service Club Beach, Turtle Beach, Venice Beach and North Jetty 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."