By Mary Thurwachter

    For the fifth time this year, Lantana’s Municipal Beach was slapped with a no-swimming advisory because of high bacteria levels.
    In tests administered by the Palm Beach County Health Department on Sept. 19, bacteria levels were in the “poor range,” showing 740 enterococcus CFU (colony-forming units) per 100 milliliters. The “poor” range is 71 or greater enterococcus CFU. A good rating is 35 enterococcus per 100 milliliters of marine water; moderate is 36-70. Enterococci are bacteria that normally inhabit the intestinal tracts of humans and animals.
The no-swimming advisory was lifted three days later, when tests showed the water to be in the good range again.
    “The Department of Health along with our partners at the Department of Environmental Protection are looking at all possible sources of the high contamination levels at Lantana Beach,” said Tim O’Connor, county Health Department public information officer. “So far nothing conclusive has been found.”
    O’Connor said 13 beaches from Boca Raton to Jupiter are tested regularly. All the other beaches in Palm Beach County (including Lake Worth and Ocean Inlet Park) tested on Sept. 19 were in the “good” range.
    Causes of the elevated level could be associated with heavy recreational usage, wildlife, high surf and high tides or runoff after heavy rains, O’Connor said.
    Swimmers can check beach water quality at www.palmbeach.floridahealth.gov and click on Beach Water Sampling.

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