The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) advises the public that two recent successive tests of swimming water quality at the Fairhope Public Beach in Fairhope were poor. Swimming in this area might lead to an increased risk of illness. …
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) advises the public that two recent successive tests of swimming water quality at the Fairhope Public Beach in Fairhope were poor. Swimming in this area might lead to an increased risk of illness. Monitoring will continue and the advisory will be lifted once bacteria values fall below the Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold of 104 enterococcus organisms per 100 milliliters for marine water.
The ADPH Mobile Laboratory reports samples taken on Monday, June 11, and Tuesday, June 12, were higher than the recommended threshold. Camilla English, a senior environmentalist with the Baldwin County Health Department, said, “A resample has been collected at the site today and results will be available tomorrow afternoon.”
The ADPH and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) operate the bacteriological water quality monitoring and notification program under a grant from the EPA’s BEACH Act Program. This program involves the routine collection of water samples from twenty five (25) high-use coastal recreational sites. In the summer months, samples are taken once or twice a week at the most highly used sites and biweekly at the other sites. All sites are tested once a month October through April
These samples are analyzed for enterococci bacteria. Bacterial concentrations in recreational waters can increase during and immediately following rainstorms due to overflowing sewage collection and treatment facilities, storm water run-off, malfunctioning septic systems and agricultural run-off. No known sewage spills have occurred. When monitoring results exceed the EPA standard, the affected site is immediately retested. If the results of the second test identify enterococci levels persisting above the EPA standard, a public advisory is issued by the health department through the cooperative efforts of the news media. This advisory states there may be an increased of illness associated with swimming at the affected site.
Additional information is available on the EPA’s website entitled “Beach Watch” at http://www.epa.gov/ost/beaches. For more information about the advisory status, visit ADEM’s Web Site at www.adem.state.al.us. Click on monitoring at the top and then click on Beach Monitoring.