12:30 p.m.: The advisory has been lifted because bacteria levels are back to safe levels. Advisory signs will come down today.
9:55 a.m. update 8/7: Va. Beach health department officials say results of water sample testing should be back by midday.
VIRGINIA BEACH -- A swimming and wading advisory has been issued for the farthest southern end of Sandbridge, from Sea Scape Road to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Recent testing conducted by the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health showed that bacteria levels in the water exceeded the state water quality standards.
The advisory does not affect the Virginia Beach resort area.
Recreational waters are monitored for bacteria using indicator organisms such as Enterococcus, the indicator of choice in estuarine and marine waters.
“The coastal waters of Virginia are generally very clean, and we test them weekly from May through September,” said Heidi Kulberg, M.D., Director of the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health. “On the occasions when waters fail to meet the standards, we need to protect public health by letting residents and visitors know.”
Signs will be posted on the beach between Sea Scape Road and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge to alert the public of the swimming and wading advisory. When the sampling test results meet the standards, the signs will be removed.
Enterococci are a group of organisms used to determine the extent of the fecal contamination of recreational waters. While they do not cause illness, scientific studies indicate that their presence is closely correlated to the presence of other disease-causing organisms. People swimming or playing in waters with bacteria levels higher than the standard have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal illness, as well as skin, eye and respiratory infections.
“We encourage the public to protect their health by complying with this advisory,” said Kulberg. “Typically an advisory of this nature is temporary and will be withdrawn once the bacteria levels have returned to safe levels.”
The results of this and all other sampling are located on the Virginia Department of Health Web site.