UPDATE: The swimming advisory at Hilton Park Beach was lifted Thursday after re-sampling results showed the water quality met state standards.
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A swimming advisory has been issued for Hilton Park Beach in Newport News.
Samples from the beach collected on July 5 showed that bacteria levels in the water exceeded the state water quality standards.
Recreational waters are monitored for bacteria on a regular basis during the summer swimming season, using indicator organisms like enterococci.
Health officials say enterococci bacteria are indicator organisms used to determine the extent of fecal contamination in the water. Though enterococci bacteria do not cause illness, health officials say scientific studies suggest that their presence is closely correlated to the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or playing in water with bacteria levels higher than the state standards are more likely to develop gastrointestinal illness.
A sign is posted on the beach alerting visitors to the advisory.
More samples will be collected Wednesday and results should be available Thursday. When the water meets state standards again, the sign will be removed.
“We encourage the public to protect their health by complying with this advisory,” said Dr. Nzinga Teule-Hekima, director of the Peninsula Health District. “Typically, an advisory of this nature is temporary and will be withdrawn once the bacteria levels have returned to a safe level.”