A swim advisory has been issued for Fourchon Beach in Lafourche Parish and Rutherford Beach in Cameron Parish after water samples collected this week showed high levels of bacteria. Additionally, seven other beaches in Cameron Parish and one beach in Jefferson Parish remain under a swim advisory.
Constance, Gulf Breeze, Hackberry, Holly, Little Florida, Long, and Martin beaches, all located in Cameron Parish, remain under advisory. In Jefferson Parish, the advisory issued two weeks ago remains in effect for one section of Grand Isle Beach, which is the easternmost section. The other two sections of Grand Isle Beach remain in good standing.
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 have a chronic illness or compromised immune systems. The advisories remain 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.