Bacteria detected along Lee County beaches

Posted at 8:19 AM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 11:04:37-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A concerning new development along Southwest Florida's coast, as new test results by the state Department of Health reveal bacteria levels are actually rising at some Lee County beaches.

This includes the Cape Coral Yacht Club, which remains closed for swimming.  Tests were also recently conducted at Bowditch Point Park on Fort Myers Beach, the Sanibel Causeway, and Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel.

The signs are clear, and the beach is bare at the Cape Coral Yacht Club beach. "You know, you're excited to go in the water and you can't because it looks dirty," says Patty Dufresne.

The water there doesn't just look dirty, the latest water samples by the health department show bacteria levels are rising.

Lighthouse Beach is the worst, getting a "poor" rating in fecal pollution.  Sanibel Causeway, Bowditch Point and Cape Coral Yacht Club are rated as "moderate".

According to the department of health website, health advisories are issued if beach waters fail to meet required standards and when these conditions are confirmed.

"I would not let my kids in that water," says Cape Coral mayor Marnie Retzer.

The City of Cape Coral has put up "no swimming" signs at the yacht club beach after testing by the Department of Evironmental Protection revealed low toxin levels of algae, meaning it may pose a health risk to kids and the elderly.

"Of course we don't want to hurt tourism, but we also want to make sure that our people are safe," says Retzer.

The most recent sampling results haven't prompted the local department of health to issue a health advisory.  It's up to beach goers to swim at their own risk.

"Someone's gotta be concerned about it if someones saying no swimming. I'm not going in there," said one visitor.

"We'll open it as soon as we find out what exactly is in the water, and we're comfortable with what is being tested is not going to harm our residents," says Retzer.

The DEP is the department testing our waters for algae. A spokesperson says those results will be released on Thursday.

You can count on us to keep you informed with any updates.