Sunday, September 24, 2023

One Beach Swimming Advisory Lifted, Another Remains in Effect in Newport News

Huntington Park Beach (Virginia Tourism Corporation)

NEWPORT NEWS — The Hampton-Peninsula Health Districts have lifted a swimming advisory for one Newport News beach, but left one in effect after samples collected on May 24 showed bacteria levels in the water exceeded the state water quality standard.

The Hampton-Peninsula Health Districts has received results from sampling completed on Wednesday, May 25 indicating bacteria levels in the water at King-Lincoln Park Beach meet state water quality standards for recreational waters. The swimming advisory is no longer in effect at this location.

The swimming advisory is still infect at Huntington Park Beach, where signs are posted: “Warning swimmers — bacteria levels do not meet state water quality standards, swimming not advised until further notice”.

People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standard have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness.

“We encourage the public to protect their health by complying with this advisory,” said Mary Wainwright, Acting Environmental Health Manager of the Hampton and Peninsula Health District said in a Wednesday press release. “Typically, an advisory of this nature is temporary and will be withdrawn once the bacteria levels have returned to a safe level.”

Recreational waters are monitored regularly during the summer months using indicator organisms such as enterococci, which are used to determine the extent of fecal contamination of recreational waters. While these organisms do not cause illness, scientific studies indicate that their presence is closely correlated to the presence of other disease-causing organisms.

Residents are reminded to observe the following guidelines as they enjoy the summer swimming season: 

  • Do not swim in water that looks stagnant, muddy, or smells unpleasant. 
  • Avoid swallowing river, stream, lake or other recreational water. 
  • Prevent direct contact between broken skin and recreational water. 
  • Avoid swimming in natural water bodies (rivers, streams, lakes, etc.) for several days after a heavy rainfall. 

Health officials will remove the signs and notify the public again when the bacteria levels decrease to levels that meet the state water quality standards at Huntington Park Beach.

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