Water-Related News

Three Hillsborough County beaches closed due to high fecal coliform counts

By Ray Reyes

TAMPA - The sign posted on the shoreline at Picnic Island Park warned people that swimming could pose a health risk.

Amy Dickinson didn't notice the sign as she unloaded a personal watercraft from the back of her truck. "The water looks the same," Dickinson, 34, said with a shrug. "It's just a little darker."

When she was told the area was closed to swimmers because of high levels of bacteria, Dickinson was surprised.

"OK, that actually concerns me," she said. "That kind of scares me."

The Hillsborough County Health Department last week issued advisories for two other popular recreational areas along Tampa Bay - Bahia Beach and Ben T. Davis Beach - because of high levels of enterococci bacteria in the water.

The advisory remains in effect today [Mon. 7/29/13] and won't be lifted until water samples show bacteria has decreased to a safe level, said health department spokesman Steve Huard.

Scientists will test the waters again this week.