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Parks & Recreation

Posted on: July 29, 2020

UPDATE: Swimming advisory for part of Buckroe Beach lifted

Buckroe Beach - Lifeguard stand

July 30, 2020 — UPDATE: New samples of the water at Buckroe Beach shows it meets state water standards for recreational waters. The Health Department has lifted its advisory.

Previously:

July 29, 2020 — The Health Department has issued a swimming advisory for much of Buckroe Beach beach due to levels of bacteria that exceed the state water quality standards for swimming.

That area is roughly from from Point Comfort to Tappan avenues. Other beaches in Hampton are within allowable limits: north, from Tappan to Pilot avenues; Fort Monroe’s Outlook Beach; and Salt Ponds Beach. The southern part of Buckroe Beach is closed while repairs are made to the fishing pier.

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 salt water. While these organisms themselves do not cause illness, their presence is an indicator that there is fecal contamination and other harder-to-detect bacteria are present. Environmental Protection Agency standards set 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 overflows. Bacteria also could be caused by a leak in one of the systems.

Officials will continue to test the water and the public will be notified when the advisory is lifted.

To read more about the water testing program, go to https://hampton.gov/3520/Beach-water-testing.

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