Martin County Health Department offers alternatives to St. Lucie River
7:22 PM, Aug 30, 2013
6:12 AM, Aug 31, 2013
STUART, Fla. -- For Labor Day, many along the Treasure Coast are used to taking a swim in the St. Lucie River, or heading to the Stuart Sandbar for an afternoon on their boat.
But with water advisories still in effect, hundreds are now left to find an alternate spot to celebrate.
At the Stuart Sandbar, test results done by the Martin County Health Department show that the water quality during the last two test periods has been good. But just about a mile away and Sandsprit Park, water is still poor quality.
That's part of the reason why water advisories remain on the sandbar, even with good quality reports.
Officials with the health department say they wait for more consistent, long term good results before telling people to jump in. They want to make sure bacteria in other parts of the river don't make their way to the sandbar.
For Michael Ferguson, that's bad news for his holiday plans. He says his boat was perfect for the Stuart Sandbar. "You can just pull it up on the sand, throw the anchor, and you're good to go," Ferguson said.
He hasn't made the trip to the sandbar in weeks. "Four weeks? I looked last Sunday and I think there was one boat on the sandbar."
He was hopeful the water advisories would be lifted by the holiday. "I thought it was going to last a week, maybe two weeks, but here we are a month into it, and it's still just as dirty and just as ugly, " he said.
Ferguson says instead, he and his friends will head to Jupiter or the St. Lucie Park. "It's just not the same where you're all tied together cooking out hot dogs, hamburgers, and tossing around the football," Ferguson said.
So where can you go Labor Day weekend? Officials with the Health Department say all the beaches are fine to use, including Bathtub Beach, Jensen Beach, and the Stuart Beach.
Officials also say the Indian River is open, and anything north of the Stuart Causeway.