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Tourists, citizens concerned after swim advisory issued near Chick’s Beach

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Posted at 9:19 PM, Jun 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-07 21:19:06-04

Unfortunately, families who figured they'd take a dip near Chick’s Beach while checking out the tall ships found an unwanted warning-- a swimming advisory.

When Heather Crittenden and her family choose a beach, the calmness of the Chesapeake Bay is a major selling point.

"It's nicer. There's less people here, and you know when you come with your family and you have small children here like we do, it's easier to keep an eye out for them,” says Heather.

But Thursday, they found it wasn't just tall ships in town for OpSail that were sharing the water, but also bacteria.

Dan Horne with the Virginia Beach Health Department says the bacteria levels were only slightly higher than state standards and by midday, swimming was once again allowed.

But many in the Chick’s Beach neighborhood wondered if cargo ships, a permanent fixture off the shore, could be contributing to the pollution.

NewsChannel 3 took action to get answers.

"The levels that we are encountering are small in nature and so it does not indicate the single source like sewage being dumped from a ship,” says Horne.

Instead, Horne thinks it’s a combination of storm water and dog waste that led to the advisory.