A swim advisory has been issued for Hackberry Beach and sections 1, 2, 4 and 5 of Holly Beach in Cameron Parish, with section 1 being the easternmost end of the beach and section 6 being the westernmost end. These advisories in Cameron Parish are in addition to advisories that remain in effect at Constance, Gulf Breeze, Little Florida, Long, and Rutherford beaches. Fourchon Beach in Lafourche Parish also remains under a swim advisory.
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 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 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.