Swimming advisories have been issued for the beach water at Hackberry, Rutherford and Martin beaches, as well as three sections of Holly Beach in Cameron Parish. These advisories are being issued because water samples collected at these locations showed high levels of enteric bacteria, which come from the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. Please note that this is NOT a closure of the beach or facilities at these locations. All areas remain open for boating and land-based activities.
Health officials were unable to sample beach locations on the eastern side of the state, in Lafourche and St. Tammany parishes, because of Tropical Storm Cindy. However, since heavy rains can cause elevated bacteria levels in water, the public is advised to use caution when deciding whether to swim in those locations at this time.
The advisories, issued through the Louisiana BEACH Monitoring Program, state that the public should avoid swimming at this location 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 levels of enteric bacteria indicate fecal contamination in water. This can happen because of stormwater runoff, area livestock and wildlife or human sewage. These bacteria indicate the possible presence of disease-causing organisms which, if swallowed, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, cramping or fever.
The Louisiana BEACH Monitoring Program is a partnership between the Department of Health and Hospitals, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Louisiana Office of State Parks. Cameron Parish Police Jury, The Town of Grand Isle and Lafourche Parish Police Jury are partners in this project and are responsible for displaying, maintaining and removing swim advisory signs at area beaches.
The program monitors bacteria levels of water at 13 locations throughout the state from April through October. For more information on the program or to check the status of monitoring at the different locations, please visit www.ophbeachmonitoring.com.