Swim advisories issued last week for the beaches of Cameron Parish remain in effect after test samples continue to show unacceptable levels of bacteria in the water. These sites include Constance, Long, Gulf Breeze, Hackberry, Holly Beaches one through six, Little Florida, Martin and Rutherford beaches. Additionally, Cypremort Point State Park Beach in Iberia/St. Mary parishes remains under advisory.
A swim advisory has also been issued for the Town of Grand Isle Beach number three, after testing found elevated levels of bacteria in water samples collected this week.
The beaches at Grand Isle State Park are closed until further notice due to construction activities by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During construction, samples will not be taken from those beaches, and no advisories will be available.
Advisories are issued when water samples show high levels of enteric bacteria, which come from the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. LDH public health workers test water from coastal locations on a weekly basis, monitoring bacteria levels to determine whether the water is safe for swimming.
If high bacteria levels are detected, LDH issues a media advisory, and a swim advisory sign will be posted near the shoreline, advising beachgoers to refrain from swimming until bacteria levels are in compliance.
An advisory is NOT a closure of the beach or its facilities; rather it is an alert to the public about possible unhealthy water conditions. All areas remain open for boating, fishing and land-based activities. The advisory remains in effect until LDH samples show water bacterial levels are acceptably lowered.
High bacteria levels can occur because of runoff following a storm, area livestock and wildlife or human sewage. These bacteria indicate the possible presence of disease-causing organisms that can cause sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping or fever. Swallowing the water or dunking your head underwater increases the risk of illness. This is especially important for the elderly, babies, small children and people who are chronically ill or have compromised immune systems.
Health officials will continue testing water at these locations and will advise the public when bacteria levels are back in compliance. However, the public should be aware that there is always a slight risk of bacterial contamination. People are advised to swim at their own risk.
The Louisiana BEACH Monitoring Program is a partnership between LDH, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Louisiana Office of State Parks, the Cameron Parish Police Jury, the Town of Grand Isle and Lafourche Parish Police Jury and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For more information on the program, please visit www.ophbeachmonitoring.com.