Sunday, March 27, 2011

What's in the Venice Beach water? Health inspectors baffled by mystery bacteria (Reader contribution)

On what looked like the picture perfect day at Venice Beach on Wednesday, there was actually a problem.

Bacteria in the water forced the Sarasota Health Department to repost advisories, warning people not to go swimming.

"I don't understand it. Many other people don't understand it either," said Emilio Tavernise, vacationing from Ohio, "it aggravates you because you are on the beach and you can't swim."

The warnings are back in the same place they've been for most of the past month. After being taken down last week, recent water samples forced health inspectors to put them up again.

Tavernise says many of his vacationing friends have already run out of patience.

"Between 85 and 95% got disgusted enough where they jumped in their car and either went that way or the other way," he explained.

The health department says the bacteria may cause stomach illness, rashes, or infections, especially to children and the elderly.

But inspectors say they're frustrated because they can't figure out exactly what's causing the problem. (read more)