Beachgoers want Pinellas to modify signs on water quality

A beach at Fort De Soto is closed, along with Maximo and Lassing beaches, due to contamination.

It was a beautiful beach day, which many people took advantage off.

Although high bacteria levels were found in some local beaches, there was still people in the water.

The poor quality levels are due to 71 or greater Enterococci per 100 milliliters of marine water, per St. Petersburg protocol.

Enterococci is a form of fecal streptococci and indicate that there is fecal matter from a warm-blooded animal in the water, according to the Department of Environmental Services.

St. Petersburg officials highly recommend that the public does not swim in the water until further testing is done. The bacteria poses a potential health risk to people in the water. The Department of Health in Pinellas County advises that the bacteria could cause human disease, infections, or rashes.

"It was a swim at your own risk. We weren't told how bad it was or what the risk was," says Whitney Garner, who drove hours from Georgia to visit Fort De Soto North Beach.

Garner says she didn't notice the sign in from of the Fort De Soto beach, so she found out from others that the water wasn't safe.

"it was a long drive for no signs to find out we can't let our kids get in the water," says Garner.

Others at the beach took their chances.

Aside from one sign at the front entrance, double red flags were up, which means the water is closed to the public.

We contacted Pinellas county about the lack of signs. The department of health tells me they are working to resolve it.

Over at North Shore Park Beach, which tested high for bacteria Thursday, Taylor and her grandkids clearly didn't see the signs.

"We were going to go in the water and you came up thank God and told us about the bacteria," says Taylor.

Lucky for her, test results came back a short time later and gave the green light for swimming at North Shore.

Bill Logan with the City of St. Pete says when a popular beach test positive for high levels of bacteria, the county tests more often.

“It takes a day to do. Testing that was done yesterday is being found today and that’s when we say them changing the signs because the water quality here is back to a good level,” says Logan.

Logan says were seeing high levels of bacteria from all the recent rain.

Bottom line, next time you head to the beach, take a closer look around for the warning signs.

It still not safe to swim at Fort Desoto.The next test's on Monday.

You should know if it's better by Tuesday.

There are also warnings for Maximo Beach and the Lassing Park Beach.

If you want to know whether the beaches in your area are safe, click here.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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