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Health Advisory Issued for Picnic Island Beach

By Kevin Watler, Public Information Officer

November 19, 2020

Hillsborough County, FL - A health advisory has been issued for Picnic Island Beach due to high bacteria levels. This should be considered a potential risk to the bathing public and swimming is not recommended.

Samples taken Wednesday were above threshold for enterococci bacteria. The beach will be re-sampled, Wednesday, November 25, 2020.

When re-sampling indicates that the water is within the satisfactory range, the advisory will be lifted.

An advisory is issued when the beach action value is 70.5 or higher. This is set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County has been conducting coastal beach water quality monitoring at nine sites once every two weeks since August 2000, and weekly since August 5, 2002 through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program.

The water samples are being analyzed for enteric bacteria (enterococci) that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals, which may cause human disease, infections, or rashes. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage. The purpose of the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program is to determine whether Florida has significant coastal beach water quality problems.

Please visit the Florida Department of Health's Beach Water Quality website to review the beach water sampling results for reporting counties, click on a county name.

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About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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