Every late Spring and early Summer, Florida receives the “first rains” that officially carry us into the wet summer season. Unfortunately, those rains also carry an enormous amount of pollution into our creeks, bays, and the Gulf. During recent rains, four beaches in Sarasota had swim advisories for unsafe bacteria levels. Although bacteria can come from natural sources, like bird and other wildlife poop, a lot of it also comes from human driven sources, like pets and septic tanks.

Quick Facts About Bacteria and Water


E. coli – indicator used to identify fecal bacteria in freshwater
Enterococci/enterococcus – indicator used to identify fecal bacteria in freshwater and saltwater.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends enterococci levels to be below 33 species/100mL in freshwater and 35 species/100mL in marine water.
Interested in local beach bacteria levels? Check the Florida Healthy Beaches Program.

Does Phllippi Creek play a role in this? Absolutely, with over 100 miles of canals, rain from a huge area drains through Phillippi Creek, into Sarasota Bay and the Gulf, which can affect our favorite beaches and fishing spots.

The good news? There are things you can do to help reduce the amount of bacteria and other kinds of pollution entering your creeks and waterways.