Water advisory issued for three Naples beaches due to bacteria

Author: Jillian Haggerty Writer: Bryanna Sterzenbach
Published: Updated:

Before you hit the beach, be aware the Florida Department of Health in Collier County is warning people to stay out of the water at three locations.

Tests completed on Thursday, July 11, 2024, indicate the water quality at Naples Pier,
Lowdermilk Beach and Doctors Pass do not meet the recreational water quality criteria for
Enterococcus bacteria.

Enterococci are a type of fecal bacteria and are used as an indicator of fecal contamination in water.

High levels of bacteria can increase one’s risk of waterborne illnesses. Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, nausea, fever, skin, ear, or eye problems.

The health department advised you to avoid swimming in the water until the bacteria levels are considered normal.

Lowdermilk Beach
Lowdermilk Beach on Labor Day 2022. (Credit: WINK News)

WINK News Reporter Jillian Haggerty spoke to Don Duke, an expert at the Florida Gulf Coast University on water resources and pollution.

He said that enterococcus is always present in the environment, everywhere, all the time.

It makes its way into the gulf from drainage systems and anything that can turn the water over in the ocean like high tide.

The main concern is for people, Duke said it does not matter how much gets into your system, it can still give you an upset stomach or worse.

Duke said, “If you were accidentally to swallow some of it or internally get it through your cuts or something, we can typically get sick or a stomach upset or earaches are associated with those things that can be transmitted by other humans. And I’m making a guess here probably 95% of us will experience that kind of thing, stomach aches and ear aches.”

Test results are available at FloridaHealth.gov/HealthyBeaches.

The Florida Department of Health in Collier County routinely collects water samples from coastal beach locations and issues health advisories if the waters fail to meet required standards.

The goal is to prevent waterborne illness.

Specialists collect samples at twelve beaches throughout Collier County to identify enterococci bacteria.

According to the department, high levels of the bacteria may indicate the presence of microorganisms that could cause disease, infections, or rashes if ingested while swimming or if they enter the skin through a cut or sore.

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