VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Virginia Beach Health Department issued swimming and wading advisories Wednesday for Chesapeake Bay Beach from Starfish Road east to Wake Forrest Street.
On Thursday the advisory was lifted for Sea Gate and Sandbridge South beaches.
Recreational waters are monitored for bacteria using indicator organisms such as enterococcus, the indicator of choice in estuarine and marine waters.
Signs will be posted on the beach in the affected areas to alert the public of the swimming and wading advisory. The signs will read:
WARNING! SWIMMING ADVISORY
Bacteria levels do not meet state water quality standards
Swimming and wading are prohibited until further notice
The City of Virginia Beach has conducted these tests since the mid-1970s. Health officials will continue testing the site until the water quality meets the state water quality standards. When the sampling test results meet the standards, the signs will be removed.
Enterococci are a group of organisms used to determine the extent of the fecal contamination of recreational waters. While they do not cause illness, scientific studies indicate that their presence is closely correlated to the presence of other disease-causing organisms.
People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standard have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness, as well as skin, eye and respiratory infections.
The results of this and all other sampling are located on the Virginia Department of Health website here.
“We encourage the public to protect their health by complying with this advisory,” said Brad DeLashmutt, the Environmental Health Supervisor with the Virginia Beach Health Department. “Typically, an advisory of this nature is temporary and can be caused by any warm-blooded animal – from birds congregating on the beach, to people not cleaning up after their dog. The advisory will be withdrawn once the bacteria levels have returned to safe levels.”