WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Swimmers might want to think twice before taking a dip in the ocean in Palm Beach County.
Health advisories have been posted this week at multiple beaches in Palm Beach County due to poor water quality.
The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County has issued advisories for the following beaches:
- Carlin Park in Jupiter
- Riviera Beach
- Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach
- Boynton Beach in the town of Ocean Ridge
- Palm Beach Municipal in Palm Beach
- Lake Worth-Kreusler in Lake Worth Beach
Officials said recent sampling showed bacterial levels in the water to be more than 71 colonies per milliliter of marine water, which put it in the poor range.
Phil Foster Park, a popular snorkeling site, scored the highest levels for enterococci bacteria among the beaches with advisories.
Experts said the cause for the elevated levels of bacteria is unknown but heavy rains, high surf and heavy traffic can contribute.
Generally, poor ratings are associated with wildlife, heavy recreational usage, high surf from high winds and high tides or runoff following heavy rains.
A local infectious disease doctor said enterococci is a bacteria that lives in the intestines and can lead to diseases, infections and rashes.
"If somebody happened to be swimming in that water, they could swallow the water and then ingest the bacteria," said Dr. Olayemi Osiyemi. "And they can subsequently develop some gastrointestinal disease or symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea."
The advisory made some people change their plans Wednesday.
"I'm not going to be getting into the water today," said pediatrician Christopher Tallo. "I just drove down here from Hobe Sound, and I'll probably just go turn around and go back."
Laura Verdier and her husband, who are visiting from Europe, said they would find another spot to enjoy sunny South Florida.
"I'm coming from France, so we are on the holidays here, but it's frustrating for sure, but I'm more frustrated for marine life and for people who live here all year long," Verdier said.
The latest beach report showed that South Inlet and Spanish River parks in Boca Raton, along with Jupiter Beach Park, had the cleanest water. All three of those sites scored in the "good" range.
The Florida Department of Health encourages people to rinse with fresh water after swimming in any body of water.
Click here for the latest water quality reports for beaches in Palm Beach County and throughout the state.