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No Swim advisory dropped for Longboat beaches

Water samples return to acceptable levels of background bacteria.

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  • | 2:05 p.m. August 30, 2018
  • Longboat Key
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Longboat Key’s beaches are back to normal after days on the “no-swim’’ list, the Florida Department of Health said on Thursday, Aug. 30.

The most recent water samples from Longboat beaches came back with a satisfactory level of enterococcus bacteria. Longboat, Lido and  Siesta keys had been under a state no-swim advisory since last week after tests showed elevated levels of bacteria in the water. One by one, each of those beaches were removed. Longboat was the last.

County officials believe natural causes were responsible for the elevated bacteria levels. Response teams saw wrack lines of decaying algae and dead fish, bacteria reservoirs that are associated with an ongoing red tide bloom. The teams also saw bird tracks on the beaches, and large amounts of bird activity can increase bacteria levels. Recent rains are another factor that can wash pollutants into the water.

The elevated bacteria levels can cause illnesses, especially among the young, elderly or those with weak immune systems. The release advised against eating shellfish collected at any beach with a no-swim advisory, though healthy finfish can be eaten if filleted.

The "No Swim" advisory signage will be removed; however, red tide advisory signage for the Karenia brevis algae bloom currently off the coastline will remain in place until conditions improve.


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