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Hillsborough Health Dept. issues Public Health Advisory for Ben T. Davis, Picnic Island Beaches

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July 27, 2023

The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County has issued a public health advisory for Ben T. Davis and Picnic Island Beaches due to high bacteria levels. This should be considered a potential risk to the bathing public and swimming is not recommended.

The samples taken were above threshold for Enterococci bacteria. The beach will be re-sampled in a week. When re-sampling indicates that the water is within the satisfactory range, the advisory will be lifted.

Picnic Island is located west of MacDill AFB and Cypress Point is located north of I-275 and west of the Veterans Expressway.

About Health Advisory for High Bacteria Levels

An advisory is issued when the beach action value is 70.5 or higher. This is set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County 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 (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.

Please visit the Florida Department of Health's Beach Water Quality website. To review the beach water sampling results for reporting counties, click on a county name.