By Elizabeth Nickerson
July 26, 2013
Shell Point Beach, FL - The sunny summer days are finally here but there is no swimming allowed. The waters at Shell Point Beach are infected with a bacteria.
Padraic Juarez, Wakulla County Health Department: "Enterococci is associated with warm blooded animals and is found in their gut lining, it is recommended that they do not get in the water and swim."
The Wakulla County Health Department says this is the first time in more than a year that the water quality was in these poor conditions.
Swimming in the water can cause rashes and infections, especially in open wounds, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Padraic Juarez, Wakulla County Health Department: "The majoring of this is coming from the run off, so in two-weeks hopefully the rain lays off for a while it will be cleared out and we won't have any more issues."
The tests are conducted at least every two weeks by the Healthy Beaches Montoring Program. But Jason Thomas the co-owner from My-Way seafood in Panacea says he is not worried about it ruining his business.
Jason Thomas, My Way Seafood: "They normally close it down for precautionary reasons due to the excess rain fall from the storm water drains and the run off its just something they've been doing for quite a few years."
If you have any questions about the no swim advisory you are advised to call the Wakulla County Health Department , that number is 850-926-0401.
Wakulla County Saltwater Beach Monitoring Results
The Florida Department of Health in Wakulla County has been conducting marine beach water quality monitoring at Shell Point Beach once every two weeks, through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program. The water samples are being analyzed for enteric bacteria (enterococci), that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals, and which may indicate increased risk of human disease, infections, or rashes. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from stormwater runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage.
Water quality classifications are based upon the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recommended standard for enterococci:
Good = 0-35 enterococci Colony Forming Units (CFU) per 100 milliliters of marine water
Moderate = 36-104 CFU/100mL of marine water
Poor = Greater than 104 CFU/100mL of marine water
A No-Swimming Advisory has been issued for Shell Point Beach based on the marine water bacterial indicator that has been recommended by the EPA. This should be considered a potential health risk to the bathing public.
If you should have any questions, please contact the Wakulla County Health Department at (850)926-0410, or visit the Department of Health’s Internet Beach Water Quality website (www.floridashealth.com/beachwater).