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The original item was published from 5/28/2021 3:15:00 PM to 6/29/2021 12:00:05 AM.

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* Hampton City News

Posted on: May 28, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Swimming advisory lifted for north Buckroe Beach after bacteria levels change

Buckroe Beach - Lifeguard stand

May 28, 2021 - The Hampton Health Department said Friday afternoon that the swimming advisory for north Buckroe Beach has been lifted. The advisory was issued due to levels of bacteria levels that exceed the state water quality standards. There are five testing locations in Hampton: Fort Monroe's Outlook Beach; three spots along Buckroe Beach; and Salt Ponds Beach.

Buckroe is segmented, so bacteria levels could affect the entire area, or just a portion (the south, from the pier to Point Comfort Avenue; middle, from Point Comfort to Tappan avenues; or the north, from Tappan to Pilot avenues.) An advisory doesn’t close the water to swimmers — it just warns you that you face elevated risk. The risk is especially elevated for children, who are more likely to swallow the water, or those who have open wounds or weakened immune systems.

Water samples are sent to labs to detect Enterococci in saltwater. While these organisms themselves do not cause illness, their presence is an indicator that there is fecal contamination and that other harder-to-detect bacteria are present. Environmental Protection Agency standard sets the unacceptable level at the point where people show a greater incidence of illness.

When the city is notified of contaminated water, officials begin looking for a cause. Most commonly, bacteria levels can increase after a major storm, when sewer or wastewater systems could become overwhelmed and have overflowed. The water is later retested and the advisory is lifted when bacteria levels drop.

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