TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County issued a public health advisory for Simmons Park Beach due to high bacteria levels on Thursday.
Officials warn that the advisory should be considered a potential risk to bathing public, and swimming is not recommended. After samples were taken, results showed they were above the threshold for enterococci bacteria.
The bacteria normally inhabits the intestinal tract of humans and animals, which may cause human disease, infections or rashes. According to health officials, the presence of the bacteria indicates fecal pollution in the water. That can come from storm water runoff, pets, wildlife and human sewage.
The beach will be re-sampled in a week. When re-sampling indicates the water is within the satisfactory range, the advisory will be lifted, the Florida Department of Health stated.
Advisories are issued when the beach value is 70.5 or higher, which is set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County has been conducting coastal beach water quality monitoring at nine sites once every two weeks since August 2000, and weekly since Aug. 5, 2002, through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program.
Beach water sampling results for report counties and more information can be found on the Florida Department of Health’s Beach Water Quality website.