TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – The Chatham County Health Department has lifted water advisories for two beaches on Tybee Island.
On Thursday, June 6, tests at Tybee Strand Beach (11th to 18th streets surrounding pier) and Tybee Middle Beach (Lovell to 11th streets) showed bacteria levels dropped below the recommended limits, meaning the advisories could be lifted.
They were issued on Tuesday after routine water quality tests showed a high level of enterococci bacteria which could cause gastrointestinal illness in swimmers.
The health department is advising beachgoers to stay out of the water on two Tybee Island beaches.
According to the Chatham County Health Department, an advisory has been issued for Tybee Strand Beach at the pier (11th to 18th Street) and Tybee Middle Beach at Center Terrace (Lovell to 11th Street).
The beaches are not closed, but a sign has been posted to let people know that swimming or wading in the water is not recommended.
The health department issued the advisory Tuesday afternoon, stating in part:
There is no way of knowing if going into water that is under advisory will result in illness; however, these beach water advisories are to alert the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact.
Water samples are tested only for enterococcus bacteria which is found in warm-blooded animals including humans but also birds, raccoons, deer, dolphins and other wildlife.
It is difficult to determine exactly where the bacteria come from, but some sources could include animal waste, storm water runoff, or boating waste.
When a beach is under advisory, it means that the level of bacteria found in the water is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.
A similar advisory was issued for Tybee Strand Beach last week from Wednesday to Friday.
The area will be retested and the advisory will be lifted when tests show the bacteria levels meet the EPA’s recommended standards.
For more information, click or tap here to view FAQs from the health department.