Safe to Swim? LDH monitoring beaches for harmful bacteria

LDH testing waterways for bacteria

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is testing Louisiana’s 24 coastal beaches for harmful bacteria each week this summer.

As the brackish water begins to warm, new bacteria can fester underneath the surface.

Beach advisories in effect as of July 1
Beach advisories in effect as of July 1 (Source: Louisiana Department of Health)

In particular, LDH is looking for enterococci bacteria, which can indicate the presence of diseases that cause infections or rashes. It’s commonly found in sewage pollution, according to the department’s website.

Under the Beach Monitoring Program, health inspectors perform tests at each of the 24 beaches every week from April through October. The tests are designed to ensure the water meets EPA standards for cleanliness.

“When we find high elevated levels of indicator bacteria, we issue an advisory for the public,” LDH inspector, Justin Gremillion, said. “It’s not so they close the beach, but so the public will think before they swim.”

If you want to swim at a beach under an advisory, Gremillion recommends covering any open wounds with waterproof bandages and showering with soap after you exit the water.

Click here for current advisories.

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