Beach-goers Advised to Stay Out of the Water

The Taylor County Health Department has issued an advisory for area beaches. Beach-goers are recommended against swimming and other contacts with the beach water because of high levels of bacteria.

Jasmine Land, visiting from Madison County, says, "I feel not too good about it. I had a swimmer out here today telling us about a dead possum that had been floating around in the water."

The advisory is for Keaton Beach, Dekle Beach, Cedar Island and Hagen's Cove.

Fecal coliform and enterococci were found at levels that exceed the criteria for bacteria recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Stephen Tullos, an administrator for the Taylor County Health Department, says, "The high bacteria levels can lead to gastric diseases and diarrhea, vomiting if someone is susceptible or gets a disease from the bacteria. We're trying to take precaution that that doesn't happen."

Taylor County health officials say they have posted notices of the advisory, but folks at Keaton Beach say they have not seen or heard any warnings.

Edna Doyle says, "I wish they would've put a sign up or something because then I could've made that choice, but since there's no sign up, I didn't know, so I didn't have a choice."

Tullos says closing the beaches is not necessary. The advisory is only a precaution measure. The cause of the high bacteria levels is unknown.

The Taylor County Health Department does not have any reports of swimmers getting ill. The advisory is in effect until future test results show lower bacteria levels.