Health Advisory: Health Advisory Hillsborough County Saltwater Beach Monitoring Results

This notice is archived content and this information may no longer be accurate.
A Health Advisory has been issued for Picnic Island beach, North and South, based on the criteria for enterococci bacteria recommended by the EPA and DEP.  This should be considered a potential risk to the bathing public.

Enterococci and Fecal Coliform samples taken Monday, March 28, were above threshold, and will be re-sampled Monday, April 4.  When re-sampling indicates that the water is within the satisfactory range the advisory will be lifted.

Water quality categorizations are based upon:
(1) Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP's) adopted Criteria for Surface Water Quality Classifications (Chapter 62-302.530, Florida Administrative Code) which establishes a fecal coliform standard of no more than 400 colony forming units per 100 milliliters for 10% of the samples; and,

(2) United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) recommended standard for enterococci of no more than 104 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of marine water, or a geometric mean of the five most current weekly samples of no more than 35 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of marine water.

The Hillsborough County Health Department has been conducting coastal beach water quality monitoring at nine sites once every two weeks since August 2000, and weekly since August 5, 2002 through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program. The water samples are being analyzed for enteric bacteria (both fecal coliform and enterococci) that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals, which may cause human disease, infections, or rashes. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage. The purpose of the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program is to determine whether Florida has significant coastal beach water quality problems.

Department of Health's Internet Beach Water Quality website (To review the beach water sampling results for reporting counties, click on a county name).  For more information, please contact G. Steve Huard, PIO, Hillsborough County Health Department, at 298-2024.