The entire Virginia Beach Oceanfront has been cleared for swimming and wading by the Public Health Department.
New lab results show that bacteria levels in the last section of ocean – from 22nd Street to 37th Street – meet State Water Quality Standards. As a result, the Public Health Department has lifted the swimming and wading advisory for that section. Signs have been removed that previously alerted the public of the advisory. It is now safe for residents and visitors to enter this area of the ocean.
On Wednesday, the Public Health Department issued a swimming and wading advisory from 22nd Street to 70th Street after tests showed unacceptable levels of bacteria in the ocean. On Thursday, the department lifted the advisory for most of that stretch, from 37th Street to 70th Street. The advisory remained for the section from 22nd Street to 37th Street. Today, that last area was cleared for swimming and wading.
Recreational waters are monitored for bacteria using indicator organisms such as enterococci, the indicator of choice for estuarine and marine waters. Enterococci are a group of organisms used to determine the extent of fecal contamination of recreational waters. While Enterococci do not cause illness, scientific studies indicate that their presence is closely correlated to the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or wading in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standard have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness and skin, eye and respiratory infections.
Environmental health officials sample recreational beach water weekly during the swimming season from May through September. For additional information on beaches, contact the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health at (757) 518-2646.
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