Health advisories have been issued for beaches in Destin, Valparaiso and Niceville following a recent round of water testing.
Waters at Henderson Beach, Lincoln Park and Rocky Bayou State Park all had unacceptably high levels of fecal bacteria, according to a release from the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County. This should be considered a potential health risk to the bathing public.
The health advisory is based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards for enterococci.
The county conducts bi-weekly saltwater beach water quality monitoring at 11 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 and which may cause human disease, infections, or rashes. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from stormwater runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage.