Nearly a dozen swimming advisories issued for Newport News beaches this summer

Posted at 4:44 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 17:16:34-04

Newport News - Officials with the Peninsula Health District say just about every time it rains, bacterial levels rise in Huntington Beach and Hilton Park. Forcing swimming advisories to be issued.

Since May, a total of 10 swimming advisories have been issued for the two Newport News beaches. Although the advisories are issued, it doesn't mean you can't go in the water.

"When we issue an advisory it's just advice were not closing the beach," explained Gary Haggy, Environmental Health Manager with Peninsula Health District. "We are trying to give the public information about the quality of the water based on the samples that we have taken and let them make up their own minds on whether or not they want to enter the water."

Though many say with the high number of advisories issued this summer, they are thinking twice about going into the water.

"I don't go into the water and I don't want my kids to get Ito the water it's concerning," said Nehemiah Prince, a Newport News resident.

According to Haggy, its not exactly clear where the bacteria is coming from. A press release from the district says the bacteria found is called Enterococci, which are a group of organisms used to determine the extent of fecal contamination of recreational waters. While these organisms do not cause illness, scientific studies indicate that their presence is closely correlated to the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standard have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness.

But even with the bacteria in the water it is still safe to go in if swimmers take the necessary precautions.

"If you go into the water try not to swallow or ingest the water, if you have open wounds protect them," said Haggy.

But for Prince, he says a quick cool off isn't worth the risk.

"I would just say be careful when you get into the water and keep the water out of your mouth"