OKALOOSA ISLAND — The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County (DOH-Okaloosa) 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.
Two Okaloosa Island parks — Wayside Park and Emerald Promenade — showed enterococci levels higher than the recommended standards for humans. The levels pose a risk to the bathing public, according to a press release from the DOH-Okaloosa.