Water quality being tested after Hurricane Idalia

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 9:12 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s been over a week since Hurricane Idalia hit the Suncoast, but there are still questions about if it’s safe to get back in local waters.

The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program has taken samples from 12 different spots in the bay and will compare the bacteria levels found in those samples to ones collected before the hurricane.

“What were seeing with Idalia is an impact to water quality, but a different type of impact than what we’ve seen in all these other events we’ve seen recently,” said program director David Tomasko.

Tomasko said the storm surge washed lots of pollutants into the water that are leading to water quality that is noticeably worse than it was two weeks ago.

“As the storm went by and the storm surge came back into the bay, it brought with it all the stuff that’s on our landscape.  It’s overfertilized lawns, it’s grass clippings and it’s dog poop,” said Tomasko.

But Josh, who is the owner of Next Level Watersportz in Manatee County, said he hasn’t seen any hit to his jet ski rental business due to the water quality.

“I personally haven’t noticed a difference as far as revenue goes because of the water. People aren’t like ‘Oh I don’t want to come out because of the water,’” said Josh.

The SBEP expects to have results from their study by next week.