Three popular South Florida beaches are expected to remain closed through the weekend, after the Florida Department of Health determined that there is still too much fecal matter to make swimming safe.
The swimming advisories that were issued Wednesday for Golden Beach, Crandon Beach North and Crandon Beach South probably aren’t going to be lifted until at least Monday, Florida Department of Health spokeswoman Olga Connor said.
But surely, after more than 48 hours, with a hot, nearly perfect beach weather forecast from the National Weather Service on tap for this weekend, all that poopy news will lift? We, the masses, can once again splash around without fear of getting sick?
That doesn’t mean you can’t swim at Golden Beach or the two major Crandon beaches. But for the love of not getting diarrhea, infections or illness, “we are recommending you don’t swim as a precaution,” Connor urged on Friday morning.
This is the second time this month swimmers have been warned to stay out of the water at Crandon Beach North. According to the department, recent samples of beach water at those three sites “did not meet the recreational water quality standard for enterococci.
“By state regulation, the Florida Department of Health in Miami Dade County is required to issue an advisory to inform the public in a specific area when this standard is not met,” the advisory notes.
“The results of the sampling indicate that water contact may pose an increased risk of illness, particularly for susceptible individuals,” the department said.
The department regularly tests water samples at 16 sites, as part of its Florida Healthy Beaches Program. Water samples are analyzed for enteric bacteria enterococci, which “normally inhabit the intestinal track of humans and animals, and which may cause human disease, infections, or illness,” according to the health department.
Storm water run-off, wildlife, pets and human sewage are common causes for high levels of enterococci. Earlier this month, two popular beaches — Virginia Key Beach Southside (Dog Beach) and Crandon North Beach — had high levels of fecal matter leading to an advisory.
All of this on a weekend when the National Weather Service calls for a heat index value of 102 degrees on Saturday in Miami-Dade. Temperatures are expected to hit 90 degrees through Sunday, with just a slight chance of thunderstorms over the weekend.
For more information on our local water safety at the seaside, visit the Florida Healthy Beaches Program at www.flhealth.gov and select “Beach Water Quality” from the Environmental Health Topics List.