Miramar Beach access health advisory lifted, Blue Mountain Beach access health advisory still in effect

June 30, 2016

healthdeptlogoJune 30, 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.

DOH notes: There is no flesh eating bacteria in Florida coastal waters..Yesterday, reports came out about flesh-eating bacteria closing Panhandle beaches. Those are false and have been corrected. There is no flesh eating bacteria in the Gulf or other Florida coastal waters.

There were health advisories issued due to high levels of enterococci bacteria (again, not flesh-eating) present at some beaches, but no beaches were closed. Enteric bacteria can be an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets and wildlife and human sewage. If they are present in high concentrations and are ingested while swimming or enter the skin through a cut or sore, they may cause people to become ill and experience infections or rashes.

For up-to-date beach water quality information, please visit the Florida Healthy Beaches website: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/beach-water-quality/

Site Name Enterococci Water Quality
SP-1 Miramar Beach 32 Good
SP-4 Blue Mountain Beach 200 Poor

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

ADDITIONAL SIDE NOTE: Walton Outdoors would like to advise beach goers that Vibrio vulnificus does exist in trace amounts across the State of Florida. It is a gram-negative bacterium and is considered the most lethal of the vibrios inhabiting brackish and salt water. This bacterium is not the result of bacteriological or chemical pollution of marine waters, but occurs naturally in warm, coastal areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico. It typically affects people with low immune systems and open wounds. Click here to learn more: Vibrio-vulnificus-Fact-Sheet