MARTIN COUNTY — Avoid contact with the St. Lucie River near Sandsprit Park in Stuart and Leighton Park in Palm City, the state health department warned Friday.
Higher than normal levels of enteric bacteria were found in water samples taken Wednesday, according to the Florida Department of Health office in Martin County.
A “poor” bacteria-level ranking is 71 or more enterococcus per 100 milliliters of water. There were 99 at Sandsprit Park and 124 and Leighton Park, according to DOH-Martin data.
The Stuart Sandbar had 53, which is a “moderate” level, according to the latest sample taken on Oct. 3. The Roosevelt Bridge area had 20, a “good” level, on Oct. 5.
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The advisory will remain in effect at these locations until results show consistent readings in the good range. The areas will be retested Oct. 10.
Enteric bacteria, a sign of fecal pollution, inhabit the intestinal tract of people and animals. The bacteria’s presence in the water typically comes from pets, wildlife, livestock, human sewage and stormwater runoff, especially after heavy rains.
It can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, eye irritation and skin rashes if touched or ingested, according to DOH.