Originally published in Florida Politics by Drew Wilson on April 24, 2019

In the past few weeks, several sites in the Fort Myers area have experienced beach closures and health warnings due to an outbreak of fecal bacteria, a sign of human nutrient pollution from sources such as leaky septic tanks.

Over the Easter holiday weekend, a dead manatee washed ashore near the beach at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, which was closed previously due high levels bacteria, according to the Florida Department of Health.

Additionally, the Fort Myers News-Press, the first to report the bacterial outbreaks, reported the Estero River “showed 1,850 colony-forming units, or CPU/100 milliliters of Enterrococci, a bacteria found in the gut of warm-blooded animals and humans.”

The Florida Department of Health’s standard for beaches is 70 CPU/100 milliliters.

The News-Press also reported elevated levels of fecal bacteria in Powell Creek in North Fort Myers, Billy’s Creek in Fort Myers and the Orange River at Manatee Park, according to readings from the Calusa Waterkeeper.

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