UPDATE: All Florida panhandle beaches open, but 8 have ‘health’ advisories
DESTIN, Fla. — Eight Florida beaches have been placed under health advisories due to the presence of potentially harmful bacteria in the water.
The issue first appeared as a “no swim” advisory, but WHNT News 19 learned that warning was a mistake. The Florida Department of Health provided WHNT News 19 with this statement:
A member of our web team had posted quickly earlier this week information about the panhandle beaches and inadvertently called them “no swim advisories” rather than “health advisories.” The department issues health advisories when samples exceed 71 or greater Enterococci per 100 milliliters of marine water. The advisories are meant to inform the public on the current quality of the water so they can take precautions and find a better place to recreate. Advisories are in place until sampling results indicate bacteria levels in the water have returned to 70 or below Enterococci per 100 milliliters of marine water.
The Florida Department of Health said water along most beaches in the Panhandle is satisfactory for levels of fecal indicator bacteria. Six spots in Okaloosa County and two in Walton County have been placed under a health advisory, however.
None are closed. The health department has just issued health advisories for the following beaches: Okaloosa’s Garniers Park, Poquito Park, Rocky Bayou State Park, East Pass, Clement E. Taylor Park and Henderson Beach. The Walton beaches covered by the area include County Park (Miramar) Beach and Blue Mountain Beach. That area includes popular areas such as Destin, Fort Walton, Seaside and Rosemary beaches.
Testing of Alabama beaches showed all were clear, though closures have been reported in Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana.
The advisories are in place due to concerns of Enterococci, a bacteria that can be an indication of fecal pollution, Enterococci contamination can come from different sources, including shoreline developments, wastewater collection and treatment facilities, septic tanks, runoff and human waste left behind by boaters and bathers.
Water advisories can change frequently, check the sites below before you go.
This article originally appeared on AL.com.