Pinellas County health officials warned beachgoers not to get in the water just as Labor Day weekend kicked off.
The department issued a no-swim advisory for Clearwater Beach, Mandalay Park and Sand Key due to high bacteria levels. Officials discovered unsafe levels of enterococci bacteria, or fecal pollution, likely as a result of storm surge brought by Hurricane Idalia, according to a news release from the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.
“Storm surge can bring contaminants from the land into Gulf waters, temporarily increasing bacteria counts,” the department wrote in the release.
Samples taken at these beaches exceeded the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Officials have resampled beaches and are awaiting results. The health department advisory will be lifted once bacteria levels return to safe levels, according to the release.
The latest test results for beaches can be found on the Florida Department of Health’s website.
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