High levels of bacteria in Martin County waters

High levels of bacteria in Martin County waters.

Ever since Hurricane Irma, the bacteria levels in water in Martin County have been high, specifically at Sandsprit Park and the Stuart Sandbar.

“it’s not really surprising when you have that kind of flush of water with the amount of rain that we got in a big pulse. All of the things that have built up on the land, especially the agricultural land where there's animal waste west of town that got flushed into the system. The drain fields and septic systems don't operate properly when they're saturated so there's a bunch of potential different sources that you expect to see after a storm like this and it's normal to see a big pulse and it gradually dissipates,” said Edie Widder, the Senior Scientist and CEO of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association also known as ORCA.

The Florida Health Department has been testing the water to make sure those bacteria levels are going down.

Monday they tested the water again and on Thursday got those results, showing the bacteria levels for the rivers are still in poor range. That means the bacteria advisory is still in place.

“When you have such high numbers you really want to take it seriously. You certainly don't want to be playing around in that water,” said Widder. She continued, “it could potentially be carrying disease and so you just want to be sensible and stay away from it until those numbers drop."

Those numbers have gone down.

“We’re very luck here in the St. Lucie and Martin County area because this part of the lagoon is flushed very rapidly so there's exchange with the ocean so the numbers would drop off more quickly than they would for example up north,” said Widder.

Widder said you also need to be cautious about your well water. She said to get that tested to make sure your water hasn’t been impacted.

The exact numbers for Martin County are being released on Friday but officials said the numbers are still in the poor range.

The Healthy Department of St. Lucie County are releasing their numbers Friday as well.

When looking at the results the numbers can either be good, moderate or poor. Poor is 71 or over. For Sandsprit Park the numbers after the storm were 945 and a few days later that number dropped to 124.

The beach levels are now considered good.

Click here to see the results for Martin County.

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