Water quality concerns in Pinellas County

This summer's abnormal rainfall might impact the Labor Day weekend plans of some Tampa Bay area residents. 

"When we get a lot of storm water running off, it's best to assume that any water body may have something in it that you don't want on your person," Pinellas watershed manager Kelly Levy told FOX 13. "You've got pet waste, you've got [road] oil, pesticides, herbicides, we've had a lot of sanitary sewer overflows with all of the excess rain that we've had... and if that storm water came in contact with any of those, things it washed down the storm drain and into your nearest water body."

Levy was responding to a question raised by a FOX 13 viewer who lives on Rock Lake in Odessa. 

"My family wants to enjoy our lake this Labor Day weekend,” inquired a FOX 13 viewer. "Is it safe or dangerous? Are our lakes contaminated?"

County health departments routinely check the water quality of some larger lakes and some local beaches, and post health advisories as necessary. However, most smaller lakes, streams and other bodies of water are not checked regularly, leaving the decision to get wet or stay dry to the consumer. 

"It's a closed system -- the only water feeding Lake Seminole is what runs into it," said Levy who explained she personally visits Pinellas County's Lake Seminole almost every weekend, and even though it is monitored regularly.

People were water skiing and kayaking on Lake Seminole Monday, and Levy suspected the lake will be heavily used this holiday weekend. She advised using goggles, ear plugs and nose plugs. Exposing opens cuts or wounds to even "clean" natural waterways also poses health risks.