PASCO COUNTY BEACH CLOSURES. Mark Antokas

02/24/04

INTRO: With more frequency, the beaches in Pasco County are being closed to the bathing public. Part of this is due to the methods which are being used to test the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and Florida's lakes and rivers. WMNF's Mark Antokas has the story.VOICE: Increasingly, the beaches in Pasco County are being closed due to high levels of fecal coliform bacteria and entrococcus. Captain Rick Hartley, a 25 year veteran of the crabbing industry, discussed the quality of the water while doing maintenance on his boat in Hudson. ROLL TAPE: With a Pasco County housing boom going on, and more traffic on the US 19 corridor, WMNF asked Hartley about the crabbing business. ROLL TAPE:Captain Rich Hartley. ROLL TAPE: Bill Angulo of the Pasco Copunty Health Department, Division of the Environment was asked about the frequency of the beach testing program. ROLL TAPE: Captain Rick Hartley. ROLL TAPE: Bill Angulo of the Pasco County Division of the Environment explained how many times the beaches were closed in the last five months and the parameters used. ROLL TAPE: Captain Rick Hartley. ROLL TAPE: WMNF asked Bill Angulo of the Pasco County Health Department about storm water run-off. ROLL TAPE: Bill Angulo said that the beach testing program was working. ROLL TAPE: Pasco County monitors and evaluates water samples from seven beach locations: Robt. J. Strickland beach, Energy and Reasearch Center, Brasher Park Beach, Oelsner Park beach, Robert K. Rees beach, Gulf Harbors beach, and the Anclote River Park beach. They test for enterococcus, normally present in human and animal intestines, but when found in the Gulf, can affect unprotected swimmers with rashes and infections, and Fecal Coliform Bacteria which occurs when feces from humans and animals find their way into drinking and bathing waters. For more information on any Florida County, go to WWW.myflorida.com, click on Florida's health, and then beach sampling. This is Mark Antokas for WMNF radio news

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