Health advisories have beachgoers wary in St. Simons Island

Latest advisory for East Beach, Massengale Park Beach lifted Thursday


ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – After multiple health advisories have been issued for St. Simons Island beaches this summer, beachgoers said they're hesitant to go in the water, even though the health department has given the all-clear.

The Glynn County Health Department has issued multiple advisories for East Beach since June, including two in the last 10 days.

The alerts came after a high rate of enterococcus -- a bacteria that can cause serious health concerns -- was found in the water.

The most recent advisory, which included a second warning for Massengale Park Beach, was lifted Thursday, but that doesn't mean beachgoers are ready to get back in the water.

“We are sitting on the beach, which is different from what we normally do,” Linda Stephens said Thursday, saying she wasn't comfortable going in the ocean even after learning the advisory had been lifted. “It hasn’t been long enough I don’t think. My husband has a cut on his toe. We don’t want to cause any problems.”

During each advisory issued for East Beach at the old Coast Guard station (10th Street East to Driftwood Drive) and Massengale Park Beach (Driftwood Drive to Cedar Street), the health department recommended not swimming or wading in the water. The advisories did not force the beaches to close.

The advisories, which were all lifted in two days, were issued:

  • March 29 at South Beach
  • June 27, Aug. 1 and Aug. 8 at East Beach
  • June 27 and Aug. 8 at Massengale Park Beach

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the bacteria could come from animal waste, storm runoff or even boating waste.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said it takes a water sample every week, and if the bacteria level is above what's considered safe, the health department issues a warning.

For more info on the beach advisories, go to: http://coastalgadnr.org/PastBeachAdv.

About the Author: