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Water-Related News

Water quality advisory issued for Hillsborough County beaches

TAMPA — Due to high bacteria levels, the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County has issued a water quality advisory for Ben T. Davis, Picnic Island and Simmons Park beaches.

The health department said samples taken were above the threshold for enterococci bacteria. The presence of that bacteria can be an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from stormwater runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage.

The beach will be re-sampled in a week.

While the water quality is considered poor, health officials advise against any water-related activities at these locations due to an increased risk of illness in swimmers.

An advisory is issued when the beach action value is 70.5 or higher, set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The health department has tested coastal beach water quality at nine sites once every two weeks since August 2000 and weekly since August 2002 through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program.

For more information on the samples taken at beaches across Hillsborough County or their levels of enterococci bacteria,  visit the Florida Healthy Beaches section of the Florida Dept. of Health's website.