VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) — A “no swim” advisory is in effect for Venice Beach due to high levels of bacteria.
Routine testing on Wednesday found levels of enterococcus bacteria were outside of the acceptable limits, according to a release from the Florida Department of Health (DOH).
The bacteria comes from a variety of both natural and human-made sources, including pet waste, wildlife, storm water runoff, or human waste from failing septic systems or sewage spills. No spills have been reported within a mile of the beach in the past two weeks, according to the release.
City and county officials determined the rise in bacteria levels was likely due to recent rainfall washing pollutants like animal waste into the ocean. Results from the most recent round of water quality tests will be available on Friday, health officials said.
The beach will stay open, but visitors are urged to obey posted signage and stay out of the water along Venice Beach, especially if they are more susceptible to illness. Residents should not eat shellfish captured near the beach, but “finfish caught live and healthy” are OK to consume.
“When these bacteria are found at high levels in recreational waters, there is a risk that some people may become ill,” said Tom Higginbotham, DOH Sarasota Environmental Administrator. “People, especially the very young, elderly or who have a weak immune system that swallow water while swimming can get stomach or intestinal illnesses. If water comes in contact with a cut or sore, people can get infections or rashes.”
Testing has revealed bacteria levels within acceptable limits at the following area beaches: Longboat Key Beach, South Lido Park Beach, Siesta Beach, North Lido Beach, Lido Casino Beach, Nokomis Beach, Bird Key Park Beach, Caspersen Beach, North Jetty Beach, Manasota Key Beach, Venice Pier Beach, Service Club Beach, Turtle Beach, Brohard Beach, Blind Pass Beach.