No-swim advisory posted for Bird Key Park Beach
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota County health officials have issued a no-swim advisory for Bird Key Park Beach on the Ringling Causeway.
Traces of enterococcus bacteria found during water quality testing on Monday, Oct. 10 were outside acceptable limits. The beach remains open, but wading, swimming and water recreation is not recommended.
Signs 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 standards.
The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County resampled the beach Thursday and expects those results late Friday.
Enterococcus bacteria can come from a variety of natural and human-made sources. These include pet waste, livestock, birds, land-dwelling and marine wildlife, stormwater runoff, and human sewage from failed septic systems and sewage spills.
The county’s rapid response team determined the cause of the elevated bacteria levels is likely due to natural sources related to Hurricane Ian. The team observed a wrack line of decaying algae around the rocks and along the shoreline. Wrack lines, which provide food for shorebirds and wildlife, act as natural bacteria reservoirs.
Additionally, the significant rainfall associated with the storm may be contributing to the higher bacteria levels by washing accumulated pollutants from the land surface into waterways.
Local health officials emphasize 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.
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.
For more information, visit https://ourgulfenvironment.net and click on water monitoring and then bacterial testing to check beach water testing results of area Gulf beaches.
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