OPEN AGAIN: Swim advisory lifted in Vilano Beach

A swim advisory for Vilano Beach was lifted Sunday by the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County, meaning spring break can officially commence sans health hazards.


High levels of fecal indicator bacteria prompted the advisory from the department on Friday, but new lab tests reveal water quality once again meets U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

“The department conducted another round of sampling over the weekend, as is common practice when an advisory is issued in order to determine when the water is safe for public bathing, and the samples came back within an acceptable range according to the EPA’s criteria,” said Sarah Revell, a spokeswoman for the department.

Revell said the DOH-St. Johns conducts water sampling bi-weekly from March to October to monitor beach water quality as part of the Florida Healthy Beaches Program. The samples monitor the presence of enterococci, enteric bacteria inhabiting human and animal intestinal tracts.

High concentrations of the bacteria in recreational waters indicate fecal pollution and can increase the risk of human disease, infections or rashes.

An initial Vilano Beach water sample revealed high levels of the bacteria, prompting the department to resample for confirmation before placing the advisory. A third round of weekend sampling proved the water to be in good standing.

The source of the fecal pollution is unknown, but the department said storm water runoff, pets and wildlife, or human sewage can be causes.

Revell said beachgoers are safe to resume recreational water activities at no risk.

“… The results showed that water quality was good and there is no longer a health risk,” she said. “There are no long-term effects on fish or plants.”

Water sample results for St. Johns County can be found online at