VERO BEACH — Authorities lifted a ‘no swimming’ advisory for three local beaches Tuesday after test samples showed that bacteria returned to normal levels, health department and city officials said.
The result means it was safe to return to the water Tuesday, Vero Beach city officials said.
The advisory – which was in place for nearly a week – was issued Jan. 31 for South Beach, Humiston Beach and Sexton Plaza Beach after high levels of fecal-related bacteria were reported at the locations. Environmental specialists with the Florida Department of Health in Indian River County collected water samples at the beaches Monday and on Jan. 28.
The more recent collection of samples – tested at the Flowers Chemical Laboratory in Port St. Lucie – came back with satisfactory results under state and federal guidelines. Last week, the samples tested for high levels of the bacteria enterococci, officials said.
The bacteria is an indicator of fecal pollution that may come from storm water run-off, wildlife, pets and human sewage. The samples showed that “water contact may pose an increased risk of illness,” reports show.
The results were more than the recreational water quality standard for enterococci. The city had placed a red flag at each of the beaches while the advisory was in place, Vero Beach City Manager Jim O’Connor said.
On Jan. 27, the county had continuous rainfall – which measured 2.66 inches – that lasted nearly all day. It was not immediately known if the frequent showers led to the high bacteria levels.