Health officials warn of harmful bacteria in recreational water

Water bacteria levels

MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - Health officials posted an advisory about swimming at Fontainebleau Park in Mandeville after finding high bacteria levels.

The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation found fecal coliform levels at 4,840, way above safety levels for swimming, which is below 200.

"We take samples. In our samples, we are looking for microbes or indicators of fecal pollution. So they're how we best determine whether or not water has come into contact with sewerage pollution," Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Water Quality Program Director, Brady Skaggs said.

Skaggs says they take these samples every week throughout the lake.

"Things are usually looking pretty good. Sometimes, we have high spikes if there is a human cause for that release, or if there's a rain event. Rain will come into contact with some sewerage pollution and will cause an overflow event," Skaggs said.

These pathogens aren't only found in waterways. The CDC issued a report about outbreaks in pools, hot tubs, spas, and water playgrounds.

"The biggest cause of at least from the CDC report, not just in Louisiana, for waterborne outbreaks usually results in the diarrhoeal illness," Assistant State Health Officer, Dr. Parham Jaberi said.

City officials say NORD pools are managed by CDC guidelines, and they monitor pH and chlorine levels every day.

If fecal matter or vomit is found, the pool is closed immediately for treatment.

"We're always concerned about those who are immune compromised. we're concerned about very young children, we're concerned about elderly. Illness can lead to dehydration, and if they have other underlying health conditions, it could potentially land them in the hospital," Jaberi said.

Dr. Jaberi says out of 105 outbreak investigations in Louisiana between 2010 and 2016, he says only one was waterborne related.

Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved. ?