Updated January 16, 2020:
The beach water advisories in Chatham & Glynn Counties have been lifted.
Recent water samples show that bacteria levels have dropped below EPA limits, and therefore the advisories have been lifted on Tybee, St. Simons Island & Jekyll Island.
January 14, 2020:
The health departments in Chatham and Glynn Counties have issued water quality advisories for beach locations on Tybee, St. Simons, and Jekyll Islands.
The advisory locations are:
- Tybee Island: Polk Street Beach (from the end of the beach on the north side of the island to the jetty)
- St. Simons Island: Fifth Street Crossover Beach (from Cedar Street to 9th Street)
- Jekyll Island: Driftwood Beach (Beach KM Marker 1 to Tallu Fish Lane)
These advisories are only for the areas specified above and do not impact the other beach areas on these islands. 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 these islands except in winter, when samples are collected every two weeks. The samples are 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 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, visit our Beach Water Testing Program page.