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Date of Issue: June 22, 2006

Palma Sola Bay south unhealthy for bathers

Bathers and beachgoers using the Palma Sola Causeway beaches should be advised there could be a health problem in the water.

The Manatee County Health Department issued an advisory last week for the waters at its testing location on the south side of the Palma Sola Causeway where it joins the mainland.

Rob Larkin with Manatee County said that the high level of bacteria "indicates that water contact may pose an increased risk of infectious disease, particularly for susceptible individuals."

The increase in bacteria levels could be related to the recent heavy rains and associated stormwater runoff, he said.

Larkin said the waters would be tested again on June 19 and an updated advisory issued June 21.

Under a federally funded program, the county monitors 10 area saltwater locations. When levels of fecal coliform or other bacteria exceed the accepted EPA standard for a five-week test average, a warning is issued.

Seven test locations are on Anna Maria Island, but no health advisories for those locations were issued.