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Officials issue warning to stay out of flooded waters amid high bacteria levels

Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Officials testing waters around flooded areas in Fort Lauderdale are warning recreators to stay out of the water for at least a few days due to an increase in bacteria levels that have climbed much higher than they have been for the last two years.

The flooding caused by the excessive amount of rain in the area has resulted in an increase in enterococci bacteria, a type of fecal bacteria commonly associated with sewage. According to Rachel Silverstein, Miami Waterkeeper Exec. Dir., high levels of enterococci bacteria may indicate the presence of sewage in the area.

In addition to the increase in bacteria levels, there may be other contaminants in the water such as PFAS, pharmaceuticals, and higher HLB surfactants. Natalia Soares Quinete, a researcher and professor of biochemistry at FIU, warns that these contaminants pose a concern and are not currently being measured.

While there have not been any announced closures of public beaches or spaces, the environmental group collecting samples in the area shared data of enterococci bacteria before and after the rainstorm. In some places, the increase was over 100 times what was deemed safe.

Silverstein advises that it would be best to give the beaches, canals, and Miami Biscayne Bay a minute to recover before recreators head back into the water. She suggests staying away for a few days or even up to a week. So far, water quality has been improving.

Overall, officials are urging caution and reminding everyone to stay vigilant and informed about the risks associated with the recent flooding in Fort Lauderdale.

Jordan Collins

Jordan is an experienced editor with years in the journalism and reporting industry. He loves talking with the community about the problems local residents face and state politics. You can find him in the gym almost every day or see him jogging.

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