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'No Swim' advisory lifted for Bird Key Park

The amount of enterococcus bacteria that was found during water quality testing Monday was reportedly "outside acceptable limits."
Credit: Madison Alworth

SARASOTA, Fla. — The "No Swim" advisory that was in place at Bird Key Park has been lifted, according to Sarasota County leaders.

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County reportedly received test results that were "a satisfactory level for enterococcus bacterial meeting both the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state recreational water standards."

Everyone is welcome to return to swimming and other water sports at the beach.

The beach water testing results can be found here.

The previous story is down below.

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Sarasota County leaders issued a "No Swim" advisory for Bird Key Park as a precaution, a news release from the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota reports.

The amount of enterococcus bacteria that was found during water quality testing Monday was reportedly "outside acceptable limits."

While the beach remains open, wading, swimming and water recreation are not recommended when a no swim advisory is in place. In addition, people shouldn't eat shellfish such as crabs and shrimp collected on or around a beach that has this advisory.

This advisory will reportedly stay in place until the next test results, which will be available Friday, meet the Environmental Protection Agency's recreational water quality standards.

Enterococcus bacteria can come from things such as pet waste, livestock, birds, land-dwelling and marine wildlife, stormwater runoff along with human sewage from failed septic systems and sewage spills, the DOH explains.

As of recently, no sewage spills have been reported within a one-mile radius of the posted beach.

So what could be the reason for the elevated bacteria levels? The rapid response team from Sarasota County, who observed a wrack line of decaying algae along the shoreline, has determined it's because of natural sources.

“When these bacteria are found at high levels in recreational waters, there is a risk that some people may become ill,"  DOH-Sarasota Environmental Administrator Tom Higginbotham said in a statement. 

"People, especially those who are very young, elderly or who have a weak immune system that swallow water while swimming can get stomach or intestinal illnesses. If water contacts a cut or sore, people can get infections or rashes.”

DOH leaders advise to not allow pets to roam on beaches and babies in diapers go into the water to help keep the beach water safe for swimming.