VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Beach has lifted the issued swimming advisory for the Oceanfront's north end beaches between 70th and 83rd streets until further notice.
After re-sampling showed that the bacteria level in the water was once again safe for swimming and wading, the advisories were lifted and signs at both locations that had previously alerted the public of the advisory have now been removed.
Recreational waters are monitored weekly for bacteria using indicator organisms such as enterococcus, the indicator of choice in estuarine and marine waters. Enterococci are a group of organisms used to determine the extent of the fecal contamination of recreational waters. While they 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, as well as skin, eye and respiratory infections.
It is impossible to pinpoint exactly what causes each case of high bacteria levels, however, waste from wildlife, domestic pets, storm and agricultural runoff, breaks in wastewater pipes and boat discharge can all contribute to higher levels. Heavy rain often contributes to higher bacteria levels as well.