A swim advisory has been issued for the water along Constance Beach, Gulf Breeze Beach, Hackberry Beach, Holly Beach, Little Florida Beach, Long Beach and Rutherford Beach after water samples collected this week showed high levels of bacteria. Martin Beach, located further west, remains free of an advisory.
This advisory is being issued because water samples collected at these locations showed high levels of enteric bacteria, which comes from the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. Please note that this is NOT a closure of the beach or facilities. 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 these locations because the high levels of bacteria are a potential health risk. This is especially important for the elderly, babies, small children and people who are chronically ill 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.