Thursday, August 20, 2015

Swimming Alert: Bacteria Concern Closes Beach

ALVA, Fla. - The Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed the beach at W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area for swimming because of concerns about water quality. The beach remains open for sunbathing and recreational activities other than swimming.

"Public safety is always our primary concern," said George Melanson, natural resource manager in the South Florida Operations Office in Clewiston. "We will let the public know as soon as possible when we are able to reopen the beach for their enjoyment."

The other facilities at W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam Recreation Areas remain open. Day-use facilities include a visitor center with interactive displays, picnic areas, a playground, scenic views of the waterway, boat viewing and lock operations.

The Florida Department of Health recommended the closure after routine water test results returned with elevated levels of enterococcus bacteria.

The beach was also closed in January for concerns over water quality due to bacteria.

Enterococcus bacteria normally inhabit the intestinal tracts of humans and animals, and may be present due to factors that include storm water runoff, pets, wildlife or sewage.

Scientists associate elevated levels of enterococcus bacteria with an increased risk of swimming-associated gastroenteritis illness (diarrhea and abdominal pain).

The beach will remain closed until test results meet the safety criteria recommended by the Florida Department of Health.

For information on the W.P. Franklin Lock and Visitor Center, call 239-694-2582. Additional information is online at and then clicking the "Recreation" icon or

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