Swimmers Beware: Bacteria Levels High at 5 Area Beaches

The Pinellas County Health Department issued a saltwater advisory for five beach locations after monitoring results showed a high concentration of fecal pollution. The next testing is July 30.

The Pinellas County Health Department issued a beach advisory for the
water at the following beaches, based on the marine water bacterial indicator recommended by the EPA:

  • , Dunedin
  • , Clearwater
  • Indian Rocks Beach (1700 Gulf Blvd.)
  • Madeira Beach - Archibald Park
  • Redington Shores near 182nd Ave. W.

These areas should be considered a potential health risk to swimmers. The next sampling will be conducted on July 30.

The Pinellas County Health Department conducts saltwater beach testing through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program. Water samples are analyzed for enteric bacteria (enterococci) that normally inhabit the intestinal tracts of humans and animals, and which may cause human disease, infections or rashes.

The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from stormwater runoff, pets, wildlife and sewage. The purpose of the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program is to determine whether Florida has significant beach water quality problems.

Water quality classifications are based upon: United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recommended standard for enterococci of no more than 104 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of marine water.

For more information about the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program, visit
floridashealth.com. Click on the "Floridians and Visitors" icon, then scroll to the "Food, Water, Air, Land" section and select "Beach Water Quality."

Deborah Hayes July 18, 2012 at 04:12 PM
What are the levels in the intracoastal? I live on Indian Rocks Beach and paddle board all the time behind my house. Now I'm very concerned!
Allen Isenberg July 18, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Since Honeymoon has a dog area, is it possible contamination can be coming from that source? We live in Dunedin on the intracostal and are also wondering about the levels by us and at the marina where boaters are often in the water launching and retrieving their boats.
InsiderMyself July 18, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Don't go out...I wouldn't. These are our award winning beaches. What a shame. The corporate polluters always win, but their big houses on the beach will be off limits to swimming as well. What kind of a place do YOU want to live in????
InsiderMyself July 18, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I don't think it 's the dog beach area causing all of this. Ben T. Davis IS the DOG beach, and they are not listed here. When you consider all of the beaches listed here...it's mostly no dogs. Dog owners don't comply though....now maybe they'll reconsider! I believe all of the rain, along with the runoff, has now shown us that we are not doing things properly.
Julie Ward Bujalski July 18, 2012 at 07:07 PM
This is most likely due to stormwater run-off from our creeks and such. The City of Dunedin is looking at a "Septic Tank" program to encourage folks to get off septic tanks and get on city water. The county has the same problem. This may not be the entire problem but it certainly contributes. High volumes of rain flow down our creeks and arrive in the intercoastal. We are currently examining these fecal contaminents in our creeks as well and hope to do clean-up in Cedar Creek soon.
Katie Dolac July 18, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Excellent point. Thank you, Commissioner :)
Tom G July 18, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Why wouldn't they test more frequently once an issue is found? Next test in two weeks?
Deb July 19, 2012 at 12:56 AM
I agree with Ms Dolac, Excellent comment.
Angela Griffith July 19, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I am thinking it is definitely from the run off of Debby. My grandson became very ill after swimming there two days ago. Projectile vomiting and diarrhea for two days. Stay away and I'll be waiting for new test results before going out again.
Diana BradenReynolds July 19, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Because Government Scott cutting down on test since they are trying to cut down the expense.
Allen Isenberg July 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Yes, it does seem much more likely that runoff is to blame for contamination. Thank you, Commissioner JWB. I agree with Ted, testing should be done daily once contamination is found. This is a real public health problem and must not be ignored. How many more people will be sickened and what is the cost for that? Small savings for a big loss of confidence in our clean beaches.
Barbara Wilbur July 19, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Are they going to post signs at Honeymoon Island? We go there all the time with our dog and so do a lot of people. Yes, a lot of them don't pick up after their dog, which are just lazy people. As for the run off water, I live by the water and our streets were under water during Debbie. Also, we have had so much rain lately that our drains can't even take it. But I do think they should test sooner than the 30th. If not, they should close the beaches as a health hazard. I won't be taking the dog this weekend!
Mason Gehring July 19, 2012 at 02:47 PM
What about Clearwater Beach? How can Honeymoon and Sand Key be contaminated but NOT Clearwater?
Michael D. July 19, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Mason, how the currentts run around the area, it very well could skip in these cases.
denise July 20, 2012 at 04:18 AM
maybe a posted sign with updated condition possibly by lifeguards would work, were on reddington and have overheard guest talking about vomiting family member! hum sticking to pool i guess! :/
denise July 20, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Eugene Kubacz July 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Eugene Kubacz, I live on a canal in Palm Harbor and i crab it,now the crabs are coming up dead in the traps.I would like to know whats killing them.I would never eat them,its such a waste.
robert July 20, 2012 at 03:25 PM
This is absolutely shameful! We have created a cesspool and we are the parasites contributing to the demise of this beautiful earth. When will people wake-up to the reality that we are destroying this planet and our ability to live here. It is just a matter of time. Our corrupt officials and the leadership crisis represented in our local, regional, and national governments are mostly to blame.
elle July 21, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Where may we swim? Help!
Katie Dolac July 21, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Great question. Here's a link to an update to where the water restrictions were lifted: http://dunedin.patch.com/articles/water-advisory-lifted-at-honeymoon-island
Randy P July 25, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Thanks for lifting the alertyou morons. Alert lifedt on friday 7/20. I went 7/22 and haven't stopped itching ever since. Guess your all about collecting that $5 a pop for parking and $25 for the Chair rentals over the safety of your beachgoers.
Randee September 29, 2012 at 09:32 AM
Here it is the end of September, and I am still suffering the consequences of swimming in the water in June, July and August. Terrible rash that will not go away, and has spread throughout my whole body. I will not EVER swim in the Gulf of Mexico again.
Randee September 29, 2012 at 09:40 AM
I feel that when there is a bacterial issue that this needs to be on the local news, as well as being posted at the beaches that are affected. Can't understand how Clearwater Beach was not part of all this....perhaps because of all of the northern visitors on vacation ? I mean afterall, revenue IS more important that people's health...right ?


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