This is the final week for water sampling and advisory activities for the 2007 beach season. Any beach location under an advisory this week will remain so during the off-season.
Advisories in place last week at many Cameron Parish beaches remain in effect this week. Those locations include Hackberry, Constance, Gulf Breeze, Little Florida, Long and Rutherford beaches, as well as all sections of Holly Beach. The Cypremort Point Park Beach in St. Mary Parish also remains under a swim advisory.
The next advisory will be issued the week of May 5, 2008.
Advisories are issued when water samples collected from beaches show high levels of enteric bacteria, which come from the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. 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, issued through the Department of Health and Hospitals’ Louisiana BEACH Monitoring Program, states that the public should avoid swimming at locations under advisory because the high levels of bacteria are a potential health risk. This is especially important for the elderly, babies, small children and people who with a chronic illness or have compromised immune systems. 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.
Health officials will resume testing water at these locations in April, 2008 and will again issue advisories to the public when the 2008 swim season opens on May 1. However, the public should be aware that water bodies are never completely risk-free and there is always a slight risk of bacterial contamination. People are, therefore, advised to swim at their own risk.
The Louisiana BEACH Monitoring Program is a partnership between the Department of Health and Hospitals, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Louisiana Office of State Parks, Cameron Parish Police Jury, the Town of Grand Isle, Lafourche Parish Police Jury and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For more information on the program or to check the status of monitoring at the different locations, please visit www.ophbeachmonitoring.com