SARASOTA- No Swim Advisory flags are flying at 13 Sarasota County Beaches, thanks to high levels of enterococcus bacteria in the water.
• Longboat Key Beach
• North Lido Beach
• Lido Casino Beach
• South Lido Beach
• Siesta Key Beach
• Turtle Beach
• Nokomis Beach
• North Jetty Beach
• Service Club Beach
• Venice Pier Beach
• Brohard Park Beach
• Manasota Key Beach
• Casperson Beach
“Our samples that we took from the beaches on Monday showed elevated levels of bacteria,” Sarasota County DOH Environmental Health Director Tom Higginbotham says said. “That may not be safe especially for people that are immunocompromised or that may have cuts and sores on their body; there is a risk of infection when the bacteria levels are that high.”
The high surf Hurricane Michael brought to the Sarasota County Coast made the bacteria risk even higher.
“When you have that kind of wave action you churn up the sand,” Higgenbotham said. “And in the sand you’ll find naturally occurring bacteria that once it gets into the water and makes contact with that sand, you’ll find higher levels.”
Because of the weather, crews were unable to re-test the water to see if the levels changed.
“If we get a high result at a beach,” Higgenbotham said. “We go back and we do a resample, well we had a problem with that this week, because the surf was so high and the rip currents were so dangerous, we couldn’t send staff into the water to retrieve the resamples.”
Beaches are still open, but you want to be careful not to step on something and cut yourself along the water.
“Conditions on the beach have not been ideal,” Higgenbotham said. “So that can cause all kinds of risks for people who would go out onto the beach. But typically, if you’re looking for a nice walk on the beach you’ll be fine just be careful where you step.”
Crews will begin retesting water Friday, and we will have updated information on the advisories as soon as it’s available.