CHATHAM COUNTY, GA – The Chatham County Health Department has issued water quality
advisories for 3 beach locations on Tybee Island. The advisory locations are:
Polk Street Beach (end of beach to jetty)
North Beach at Gulick Street (jetty to Lovell Street)
Middle Beach at Center Terrace (Lovell Street to 11th Street)
These advisories are only for the areas specified above and do 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.
Water samples are collected weekly on Tybee Island, and tested for enterococcus (pronounced:
en·ter·o·coc·cus) bacteria which is found in warm blooded animals including humans but also
birds, raccoons, deer, dolphins and other wildlife. It is difficult to determine exactly where the
bacteria come from, but some sources could include animal waste, storm water runoff, or
boating waste. When a beach is under advisory, it means that the level of bacteria found in the
water is above the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards.
The Chatham County Health Department recommends you do not swim or wade in the water in
the area under advisory. Fish and other seafood caught from this area 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, and the advisories will be lifted when tests show
the bacteria levels meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards. For
more information about beach water testing, go to www.gachd.org and click on the
Environmental Health tab at the top of the page.
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