July 5, 2012 - Tampa's beach water is monitored by the Florida Department of Health as part of the Florida Healthy Beaches Program to more accurately determine whether beaches are safe for recreational uses such as swimming.
The beach water is sampled weekly and analyzed for enterococci and fecal coliform bacteria. Elevated levels of these bacteria may be due to sewage contamination, livestock, pets or wildlife. High concentrations of these bacteria may indicate the presence of pathogens (microorganisms that could cause disease, infections, or rashes). The Hillsborough County Health Department will issue health advisories or warnings when these conditions are confirmed. A health advisory indicates that contact with the water at this site may pose increased risk of infectious disease, particularly for susceptible individuals.
Results are posted on the Healthy Beaches website as Good, Moderate or Poor. For fecal coliform, a good result is 0-199 organisms per 100 mL of water, a moderate result is 200-399 organisms per 100 mL of water, and a poor result is 400 or greater per 100mL of water. For entorococci organism, a good result is 0-35 colony forming units per 100mL of water, a moderate result is 36-104 colony forming units per 100mL of water, a poor result is 105 or greater colony forming units per 100mL of water.
If you are planning a trip to one of Tampa's beaches, which include Ben T. Davis, Picnic Island, Cypress Point or Davis Islands, please check the Florida Healthy Beaches web site for the latest test results.
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