Puglia: surveys on the sea coast of the Gargano, the stretch between Torre Cala Rossa and the mouth of the Romondato canal is perfectly suitable for bathing

The entire stretch of sea coast between Torre Cala Rossa, to the left of Foce Capoiale, and the mouth of Canale Romondato, between Lido del Sole and Rodi Garganico , is perfectly suitable for swimming . Only near the Foci Capoiale and Varano, at the point where Lake Varano and the sea communicate, has a level of cyanobacteria been detected that suggests caution: these are organisms that in the past were indicated with the term “blue algae” and have no connection with fecal bacteria proper. This is the outcome of the extraordinary surveys that the Regional Agency for the Prevention and Protection of the Environment carried out, at the request of the Puglia Region, up until yesterday, Thursday 20 July, and which were discussed this morning during the meeting convened by the Prefect of Foggia, at the request of the mayor of Ischitella who reported some serious critical issues connected to the absence of re-oxygenation of the lake’s waters.
For the sake of completeness, the summary of the ARPA findings is reported below:

Following the flowering of cyanobacteria detected in Lake Varano , and in the light of direct observations as well as reports of their presence also in the marine waters in front of it, starting from 14/07/2023 sampling was arranged by ARPA Puglia on the stretch of sea coast between Torre Cala Rossa (to the left of the Foce Capoiale) and the mouth of Canale Romondato (between Lido del Sole and Rodi Gargano), supplementing what was already provided for in the bathing monitoring program pursuant to Legislative Decree .Lgs. 116/2008 and subsequent amendments The latest available results relating to laboratory analyzes forsamplings carried out on 20/07/2023, highlighted the presence of cyanobacteria in the sea with a density greater than 20,000,000 cells/L, the threshold value envisaged for the “Alert Phase”by the Guidelines «Cyan-bacteria: guidelines for the management of cyano-bacteria blooms in bathing waters» (Istisan Reports 14/20), only in the areas near the Foci Capoiale and Varano (communication between the lake and the sea); in addition to the “Alert Phase”, when the value of 100,000,000 cells/L is exceeded, the transition to the “Emergency Phase” is carried out, for which the same Guidelines provide for the management measures (communication, information to citizens, etc.) also including the possible temporary bathing ban order, issued by the territorially competent Mayor. Instead, the results for the remaining stretch of coast were all lower than 20,000,000 cells/L, thus falling within the so-called “Routine Phase”referred to in the aforementioned Guidelines, which does not require any risk management measures.

We also want to reiterate that cyanobacteria, in the past technically indicated with the term ” blue algae”, are not directly linked to the microbiological contamination referred to in the fecal bacteria proper (e.g. Escherichia coli and intestinal Enterococci for Legislative Decree 116/2008); nevertheless it is understood how the similar denomination of the two different groups can lead to etymological confusion in non-experts on the subject. Furthermore, in the particular case of what has been highlighted along the sea coast facing Lake Varano, it can probably be hypothesized that the bloom of cyanobacteria found in the waters of the same lagoon was dragged into the sea, which was carried into the sea through the mouths (as indeed confirmed by the analytical results obtained up to now). Finally, it is worth noting that ARPA Pugliais closely following the phenomenon, as already mentioned through the intensification of monitoring activities, both in the lagoon and at sea.

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