Nokomis Beach, Florida - The advisory has just been lifted after high levels of bacteria closed Nokomis Beach to swimming for five days. But there's still some risk: health officials say four other beaches are on their radar. Weekly test results on Tuesday show bacteria levels higher than usual.
Health officials are retesting the water at Blind Pass, Manasota Key, Venice Beach and Bird Key Park at the Ringling Causeway. Results are expected Thursday and health officials will decide then if a no swim advisory is needed.
It was a beautiful day on Nokomis Beach for sunbathing. "Bit of breeze, the sun is nice and warm," says Lisa Mahla, visiting from Pittsburgh.
Sarasota lifts no swim advisory for Nokomis Beach, but 4 more beaches at risk.
But it's not a good day for bathing in the water. A "no swim" advisory had been posted for nearly a week, due to high levels of bacteria; twice the normal limits according to Sarasota County health officials.
Lisa says, "I have no desire go in the water, getting my feet wet and risk getting sick."
Despite warnings from life guards, some visitors went for a swim anyway.
"I think they're crazy," says Lisa.
"I took my chances. Why not?" says Justin Bryant, visiting from Indiana.
Tom Higginbotham, the Environmental Director for the Sarasota County Health Department says anyone with cuts, skins abrasions or who swallow too much water can get sick. "Gastrointestinal problems, vomiting and diarrhea," says Higginbotham.
"We're very concerned. This is an unacceptable situation. If it's man-made we have to stop it. This one is very troubling," says John Ryan, Environmental Manager for Sarasota County.
Environmentalists ruled out a sewage spill. Ryan says bacteria naturally found in algae may be to blame or storm water run-off.
The bacteria first turned up along Venice Beach just south of Nokomis about a week ago and now in Nokomis. Environmentalists say the bacteria are not the kind that moves up along the coast, but may turn up at another beach if conditions are right.
Higginbotham says,"It (the bacteria) is always there. At times it flares up, especially during the warm season, when we see greater runoff from heavy rainfall."
Next time you see a no swim advisory at the beach? Higginbotham says, "Our advice don't go into the water."
Each week, Sarasota County tests 16 sites along 34 miles of beaches.