Following is a list of information sources for healthy and safe swimming. This list was published on May 22, 2017, by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC), with financial support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Virginia Department of Health . More information on the VWMC is available online at http://www.VirginiaWMC.org; or contact Jane Walker at email@example.com.
Please feel free to re-distribute this information. If you forward this announcement or post it to your Web site, please let the VWMC know so that the information can be reported it to the funders; to do so, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1.) Healthy and Safe Swimming Week – May 22-28, 2017
The week before Memorial Day marks the thirteenth annual Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. Nationwide, communities will be collaborating and engaging in discussion about how to maximize the health benefits of water-based physical activity while minimizing the risk of recreational water–associated illness and injury. Together, swimmers, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners, and public health officials can prevent the spread of germs by following easy and effective healthy swimming steps which can be found at www.SwimHealthyVa.com.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site has promotional materials (brochures, buttons & banners, fact sheets, infographics, podcasts, posters, mobile apps, social media library, stories, and videos) to educate the public on healthy swimming practices. To learn more, see: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/observances/hss-week/index.html. (Please see #5 below for more resources from the CDC.)
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is promoting Healthy and Safe Swimming Week and is providing a media and messaging toolkit at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/news/toolkits/. A statewide press release will soon be available at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/news/public-relations-contacts/news-releases/2017-statewide-news-releases/.
2.) Beach Monitoring in Virginia
Bacteria levels in coastal beach water are monitored weekly at 46 public beaches on the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean of Virginia during the swimming season (May-September).
Water samples are collected weekly by Local Health Departments and analyzed by local laboratories for enterococci bacteria. If bacteria levels exceed Virginia’s Water Quality Standard of 104 colony forming units (cfu)/100 mL of water, a swimming advisory is issued. Enterococci bacteria serve as an indicator for fecal contamination in salt and brackish waters. These organisms are not harmful themselves, but indicate that other potentially harmful organisms may be present. High levels of enterococci bacteria indicate an increased health risk to recreational water users.
Follow VDH’s Beach Monitoring Program on Twitter to receive a notification for swimming advisories https://twitter.com/VDHBeach.
For information about current swimming advisories and monitored beaches, beach advisory and monitoring data, links to local beaches, local health department contacts, special projects, and our new Coastal Beach Monitoring brochure visit: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/beach-monitoring/.
3.) “Beaches and Bacteria”
This article was updated in January 2014 and is available at https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/beaches-and-bacteria-january-2014-update-of-an-august-2004-virginia-water-central-article/. It was first published by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Virginia Water Central Newsletter (August 2004). The article describes:
- The difference between a beach advisory and a beach closure
- The Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act
- The types of indicator organisms monitored at Virginia’s beaches
- Virginia’s bacteria standards
- Microbial Source Tracking
4.) “Safely Enjoying Virginia’s Natural Waters”
This brochure, published by the Virginia Department of Health, covers topics such as:
- What organisms are in natural waters and where do they come from?
- What are the health risks and how are they determined?
- Why avoid natural water after a heavy rain?
- What you can do to protect yourself.
Go to http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/12/2016/04/Safely-Enjoy-Natural-Waters_v2.pdf to download a PDF document of the brochure.
5.) More from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Healthy Swimming & Recreational Water web page: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/ — Provides information on the following topics and more:
- Health Benefits of Water Based Exercise – Chronic Illness, Mental Health, Older Adults
- Swimmer Protection — Tips for Healthy Swimming, Pool and Hot Tub User Information
- Recreational Water Illnesses — Germs & Illnesses, Education & Prevention Materials, State Resources
- Other Recreational Water Issues — Drowning, Injuries, Boating, Sun Protection, Extreme Heat
- Pools & Hot Tubs — Design, Operation, Disinfection, Regulation
- Oceans, Lakes, & Rivers — Beach Monitoring, Water Quality Indicators
- Model Aquatic Health Code — About, The MAHC, Updating, Tools
Natación Saludable — Información en Español — https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/audience-espanol.html.