July 1, 2016 – The Florida Department of Health in Walton County (DOH-Walton) conducts regularly scheduled saltwater beach water quality monitoring at seven sites through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program. Samples are collected from March through the end of October. The water samples are analyzed for enteric bacteria (enterococci) that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals, which may cause human disease, infections, or rashes. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage. The purpose of the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program is to determine whether Florida has significant coastal beach water quality problems and whether future beach monitoring efforts are necessary.
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Water quality classifications are based upon United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recommended criteria and Florida Healthy Beaches Program Categories:
Good = 0 – 35 Enterococci CFU per 100 ml of marine
Moderate = 36 – 70 Enterococci CFU per 100 ml of marine water
Poor = 71 or greater Enterococci CFU per 100 ml of marine water
The health advisory for the Blue Mountain Beach Access has been lifted. The water quality in this area has improved considerably due to the reduction in bacteria levels.
If you should have any questions, please contact DOH-Walton at (850) 892-8021 or visit the Florida Department of Health’s Beach Water Quality website www.floridahealth.gov/healthy-environments/beach-water-quality/index.html