VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Public health officials say bacteria levels along a stretch of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront are too high or swimmers.
The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health issued a swimming and wading advisory for the Oceanfront from 22nd Street to 70th Street on Wednesday. Thursday, the advisory was lifted from 37th Street to 70th Street at the Oceanfront.
There were three sites along that stretch that tested high: at 28th Street, 45th Street and 63rd Street.
“Yeah, it is a big bummer,“ said Pennsylvania’s Jackey Fury.
On a sunny day in Mid-August at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront you expect to see people in the water.
“We got here around 3 o’clock this afternoon,” Fury added. “We just had a late lunch and decided to come to the beach, put our feet in the water and swim around a little bit. That’s not going to happen.“
Swimmers were told to get out, because bacteria levels were to high can could be harmful.
“It is very concerning, because I have dipped in the water for about four or five hours and then they just tell us water has bacteria,“ said Ney York’s Joy Rosales.
Health officials told WAVY.com the levels along the Oceanfront were not terribly high, they just did not meet state water quality standards. People who choose to swim in the water anyways are at a higher risk of developing gastrointestinal illness.
“We encourage the public to protect their health by complying with this advisory,” said Heidi Kulberg, M.D., Director of the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health. “Typically an advisory of this nature is temporary and will be withdrawn once the bacteria levels have returned to safe levels.”
The health department told WAVY.com it’s every unusual to have three sites in a row, back-to-back, that test high. Usually the spots that test high for bacteria are sporadic.
There will be signs on the affected beaches to warn the public, and the department will let everyone know when it is safe to go back in the water.
“The coastal waters of Virginia are generally very clean, and we test them weekly from May through September,” Kulberg said. “On the occasions when waters fail to meet the standards, we need to protect public health by letting residents and visitors know.”
They are a total of 22 sites in Virginia Beach that that the health department regularly tests for bacteria. You can see the test results for that stretch of beach and other testing in the area at this link: http://www.vdh.state.va.us/epidemiology/DEE/BeachMonitoring/