All remaining no-swim advisories have been lifted for Sarasota County beaches, the Florida Department of Health’s county office said this week.
Concentrations of enterococcus bacteria returned to acceptable levels at Bird Key/Ringling Causeway, Venice Fishing Pier and Brohard Beach in Monday testing, the final three sites of the original list of seven posted last week.
FDOH said swimming and other water sports could resume countywide.
On July 28, health officials posted the first no-swim advisories of the summer season in Sarasota, saying the source of the bacteria was likely natural or the result of stormwater runoff, not a failure of sewerage systems.
The popular beach at Siesta Key was among those originally posted with no-swim advisory signs, though the shoreline reopened for swimming by Friday afternoon.
Several sites in Manatee County are still under advisory conditions.
Beach inspection teams reported a wrack line of decaying algae around the rocks and along the shoreline. Wrack lines, which provide food for shorebirds and wildlife, act as natural bacteria reservoirs. Additionally, significant rainfall amounts may be contributing to the higher bacteria levels by washing accumulated pollutants from the land surface into waterways.
“When these bacteria are found at high levels in recreational waters, there is a risk that some people may become ill,’’ said DOH-Sarasota Environmental Administrator Tom Higginbotham. “People, especially those who are very young, elderly or who have a weak immune system that swallow water while swimming can get stomach or intestinal illnesses. If water contacts a cut or sore, people can get infections or rashes.”