Water at beaches safe, despite decomposing fish

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The beaches of Indian River County remain open and the waters safe to swim in despite the recent massive fish kill due to this month’s earlier cold weather.

A recent water quality test at six locations along the barrier island on the Atlantic Ocean side showed the bacterial levels to be low enough to be considered safe.

Water quality in the Indian River Lagoon, however, is unknown as the Indian River County Health Department does not monitor the waters there. “It’s not considered an area people bathe in,” said Environment Specialist Charles Vogt.

Vogt said that the health department has not had to issue many health advisories for the beaches.

“We’re fortunate,” he said. “We don’t get too many closures.”

And those that are issued, Vogt added, are typically associated with natural phenomena – such as large flocks of birds flying by.

As for whether or not the recent fish kill would impact the water quality along the oceanside beaches, Vogt said he could not predict.

“I’ve been wrong too many times,” he said.

The Indian River County Health Department samples water at six beaches every Monday and receives the preliminary results within a couple days.

Those sites the department visits are:

Coconut Point Sebastian Inlet

Wabasso Beach Park

Sexton Plaza Outflow

Humiston Beach Outflow

South Beach Park

Round Island Beach Park

Vogt said in the event the department issues a health advisory at the park, the governing body that has jurisdiction over the location would be notified. It would then be up to the local government to decide whether or not to shut down the beach.

To see the latest beach water sampling results online, visit the Florida Department of Health Web site, www.FloridasHealth.com and click on “Floridians and Visitors” then “Beach Water Quality” listed under the “Food, Water, Air, Land” section, and select “Indian River” – or CLICK HERE.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment