NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The Peninsula Health District has issued a swimming advisory for Hilton Park Beach and Huntington Park Beach due to bacteria levels in water samples exceeded the state water quality standard, according to the city.
The city says recreational waters are monitored for bacteria routinely during the summer swimming season.
Signs are posted at Hilton and Huntington beaches warning the public of the advisory.
The city says additional samples were collected by health officials on Wednesday and the results should be available by Thursday. If and when the bacteria levels decrease to levels that meet the state water quality standards, health officials will remove the signs on the beaches and notify the public.
“We encourage the public to protect their health by complying with this advisory,” said Mary Wainwright, Environmental Health Manager of the Hampton and Peninsula Health Districts. “Typically, an advisory of this nature is temporary and will be withdrawn once the bacteria levels have returned to a safe level.”
When waters are monitored, indicator organisms, such as enterococci, are used.
Enterococci are a group of organisms used to determine the extent of fecal contamination of recreational waters, and while these organisms do not cause illness, the city says scientific studies indicate that their presence is closely correlated to the presence of other disease-causing organisms.
People swimming or playing in waters with higher-than-standard bacteria levels have a higher risk of developing gastrointestinal illness.
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