DNR Beach Advisory Issued on Tybee and St. Simons Islands

CHATHAM and GLYNN COUNTY, GA – The Glynn County Health Department has issued beach water advisories for 3 beaches on St. Simons Island. The affected areas are:

o Massengale Park Beach from Driftwood Drive to Cedar Street,
o Fifth Street Crossover Beach from Cedar Street to 9th Street, and
o South Beach at the lighthouse from 9th Street to the pier.

The Chatham County Health Department (Savannah) has issued a beach water advisory for Polk Street Beach on Tybee Island. Polk Street Beach is located on the north side of Tybee Island, from the end of the beach to the jetty.

This advisory is only for the area specified above and does not impact the other beach areas on the island. There is no way of knowing if going into water that is under advisory will result in illness. However, these beach water advisories are to alert the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact. An area under advisory does not mean the beach is closed.

The Department of Natural Resources – Coastal Resources Division tests water samples on Chatham and Glynn County beaches throughout the year. The tests screen for enterococcus (pronounced: en·ter·o·coc·cus) bacteria, which are found in humans and some wildlife. The testing program is not related to the capsized motor vehicle carrier in St. Simons Sound.

When a beach is under advisory, it means the level of bacteria found in the water is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended standards. This does NOT mean the beach is closed. These beach water advisories alert the public of a possible risk of illness associated with water contact in the advisory areas. The Health Department recommends you do not swim or wade in the water in the areas under advisory. Fish and other seafood caught from these areas should be thoroughly washed with fresh water and thoroughly cooked before eating, as should fish or seafood caught from any waters.

The areas will be re-tested this week, and the advisories will be lifted when the bacteria levels meet the EPA’s recommended standards. For more information about beach water testing, go to GaCHD.org and click on the Environmental Health tab at the top of the page.

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