PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The Labor Day holiday weekend is a big day for beachgoers. All along Florida’s 1,350 miles of coastline, visitors will turn out in droves. But how do you know if the water is clean at Florida beaches?
The State of Florida offers two ways to keep track of water quality at its beaches and in its waterways. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection offers an interactive map that tracks water quality in bodies of water across the state. The Florida Department of Health also lets you keep track of water quality in the state. You can check Florida Health’s water quality database on its Florida Healthy Beaches Program page.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection interactive water quality map lets you zoom in and out across the state. Click on a regions of the state to see water quality at local beaches and rivers. Areas shaded purple are not attaining water standards, areas shaded blue are attaining water standards, and areas in gray are either not assessed or there is not sufficient data.
The map tracks “impairments for total phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, and either total nitrogen or nitrate-nitrite.”
The Florida Healthy Beaches Program lets users explore water quality across Florida’s 30 coastal counties. From there you can find concentrations of Enterococci based on recent samples taken at the beaches, like this report for Escambia County.
The Florida Department of Health notes that Enterococci, an indicator bacteria, are routinely monitored at Florida beaches.
For red tide information: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tracks red tide at Florida beaches. There you can find a regularly-updated map indicating concentrations of Karenia Brevis, the organism responsible for Florida red tides.
For Vibrio Vulnificus information: You can also find recent information about Vibrio through the Florida Health website. They provide answers to frequently asked questions and historical information about confirmed cases of Vibrio in Florida.