In August 2000, Santa Rosa County joined Florida's Healthy Beaches water
sampling program, which was initially started in 1998 with a pilot program that
included 11 Florida coastal counties. Beach water sampling was conducted every
two weeks and the results were reported on the
DOH Healthy Beaches website and
in local news media. In August 2000, the beach water sampling program was
expanded to include the 34 Florida coastal counties. In August 2002, the coastal counties began collecting
weekly samples with additional funding from U.S. EPA.
The coastal beach water samples collected are tested for certain bacteria. Environmental Health personnel currently collect samples from seven locations along the coast. These sampling points include Shoreline Park and Woodlawn Beach in Gulf Breeze; Navarre Park in Navarre; and two public beach accesses, Juana's Pagodas, and Homeport Subdivision in Navarre Beach.
The water samples are analyzed for Fecal coliform and enterococci bacteria that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals. However, the presence of these bacteria in the environment may be an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets, wildlife, and/or human sewage.
High concentrations of fecal coliform and enterococci in recreational waters may cause human disease, infections, or rashes if they are ingested while swimming or enter the skin through a cut or sore. The Division of Environmental Health issues health advisories when elevated concentrations of these bacteria are confirmed.
For more information on the Healthy Beaches program, visit Florida Healthy Beaches Program website.
To view the status of local sampling in Santa Rosa County, visit Santa Rosa County results.
For more information regarding beach monitoring programs, please visit Beach Monitoring and Notification or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, Healthy Swimming.