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Bacterial contamination of Billy's Creek a ‘public health risk'

Posted at 10:44 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 22:44:58-04

FORT MYERS, Fla., - A major cleanup is needed at Billy’s Creek in Fort Myers. But first, the City must determine what exactly is going on with the water.

Water quality experts with Calusa Waterkeepers say they’re seeing extremely dangerous levels of fecal bacteria in the Creek, which flows into the Caloosahatche and it may pose a public health risk.

It’s been an ongoing issue for years despite efforts by the City to add marshes for filtration and the Ford Street Preserve over the last decade. 

But now, Calusa Waterkeepers estimate there’s 68 times the amount of bacteria that would typically force a beach to close in the creek, based on recent testing.

Nearby residents who use the Creek to fish and swim say they weren’t aware the bacteria levels were so high. They want the City to install more signs to notify people of the dangers in the water.

Experts say the enterococci bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illness, infections and rashes.

The City of Fort Myers says while they’re aware of the contamination, they’re still working to figure out exactly where the high levels of bacteria is coming from. They are conducting more sampling this week to help determine the exact source of the bacteria. When that’s complete, they plan to work on a long term solution.