Swimming Advisory Lifted for All of Chesapeake Bay

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health has lifted the final swimming and wading advisory along the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach. The last area with an advisory – now lifted – is between Morton Road and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek. Lab results showed bacteria levels in the water meet the State Water Quality Standards. Signs have been removed that previously alerted the public of the advisory.


On June 15, the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health issued a swimming advisory to protect public health following an abnormally high bacteria level reading. The sampling level has returned to an acceptable bacteria level and it is now safe for residents and visitors to enter this area of the bay.


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 on a weekly basis during the swimming season from May through September. 


For additional information on beaches, contact the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health at (757) 518-2700.


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