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.
Site Name Enterococci Water Quality
SP-1 Miramar Beach 28 Good
SP-3 Dune Allen Beach 20 Good
SP-4 Blue Mountain Beach 116 Poor
SP-5 Grayton Beach 1,048 Poor
SP-7 Holly Street Beach 52 Moderate
SP-8 Eastern Lake Beach 104 Moderate
SP-9 Inlet Beach Access 32 Good
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 per 100 ml of marine
Moderate = 36 – 104 Enterococci per 100 ml of marine water
Poor = greater than 105 Enterococci per 100 ml of marine water
Health Advisories has been issued for the Blue Mountain Beach Access and the Grayton Beach Access based on the enterococci standard recommended by the EPA. This should be considered a potential health risk to the bathing public.
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.