Water-Related News

Cape Coral pushes for clarity on beach closures

Closing the Yacht Club Beach in Cape Coral on Saturday was a first for City Manager John Szerlag. And the much beloved beach will remain closed until further notice.

In the meantime, Szerlag said he wants greater continuity and clarity of when to close a beach from the Florida Department of Environmental Control and the Florida Department of Health.

“We don't want (the decision to close a beach) to be a political decision like in 'Jaws', we want it to be based on scientific fact," Szerlag said in reference to the 1975 blockbuster.

Szerlag said he based the decision to close the beach on a letter from the DEP. The letter said water near the Yacht Club contained about 1 microgram/liter of the toxin microcystin. While the letter notes World Health Organizations puts anything below 10 micrograms per liter as low-risk for health risk, the letter did recommend that “sensitive populations” such as children, elderly and immunocompromised populations avoid any exposure.

At the city council meeting Monday, Szerlag defended his decision to close the beach in reaction to the letter from DEP. Councilman Richard Leon questioned why the beach was closed for 1 microgram/liter when the World Health Organization says anything below 10 micrograms/liter is low-risk.