Originally published by The News-Press on September 29, 2023 by Amy Bennett Williams

Don’t go in the water warns Lee County’s health department: There’s too much fecal bacteria and it might make you sick.

According to routine tests Thursday, Bowditch Point Park on Fort Myers Beach and Cape Coral’s Yacht Club beaches had unsafe levels of Enterococcus bacteria, which can cause woes ranging from diarrhea, nausea, rashes and eye irritation to increased risk of disease in vulnerable people.

“Due to these risks, no wading or swimming at Cape Coral Yacht Club or Bowditch Point Park is recommended,” wrote spokeswoman Noelia E. Martinez Irizarry in an email.

This advisory will continue until bacteria levels are below the accepted health level. New test results should be available for Cape Coral Yacht Club and Bowditch Point Park on Tuesday.

Florida’s Healthy Beaches program regularly samples waters where people swim, but as the name implies, it’s limited to beach shorelines. Water quality advocates like Calusa Waterkeeper have long urged the state to include recreational waters like creeks and rivers in the testing as well, because people are exposed to water there as well.

Continue Reading