DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — The issue of water quality was front and center of the Destin city council meeting Monday night. Residents and councilmembers spoke about the conditions of the Destin harbor and sunken vessels, combined with the concern of poor water quality.

Public works director Michael Burgess confirmed to the council that the Destin harbor water pump has been out of commission for a few weeks and has since been fixed. The pump began operation in 1992 bringing low-nutrient water to flush out pollutants and bacteria in the harbor. The pump also raises the oxygen level for fish and other marine life.

“I think I’ve noticed the same water quality issue and I’m not too sure it’s just the pump,” said Mayor Gary Jarvis. “It’s July, and the water is hot and there’s a lot of algae in the water and stuff like that so it’s a combination probably of the pump not working there for a couple of weeks and it’s July and 100 degrees.”

The Florida Department of Health tests other parks around the county. At last check on July 25, five area beaches showed poor water quality.

List of beaches with poor water quality:

  • Brackin Wayside Park – The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island, 1450 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE Fort Walton Beach
  • Clement E. Taylor Park – Waterside park with access near the Destin pass, 131 Calhoun Ave, Destin
  • Henderson Beach State Park – 17000 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Destin
  • James Lee Park – Crab Trap beach access – 3500 Scenic Hwy 98 E, Destin
  • Marler Park – Okaloosa Island boat launch – 1275 Santa Rosa Blvd, Okaloosa Island

These water tests look for the presence of enterococci, or bacteria from human waste. A poor test results from more than 70.5 counts of bacteria in 100ml of water. The Florida Department of Health issued advisories for the listed beaches.

The City of Destin said a water test for the harbor was conducted Monday, August 1 by Analytical Services out of the University of West Florida. The results should be back in two to four weeks.

Residents at the city council meeting also spoke to sunken vessels in the harbor. A boat sank at the beginning of the summer season. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission placed a marker on the structure but it has since vanished. Destin city staff said they are working with Okaloosa County and FWC to have the owner move the boat or deem it derelict to be removed by the agencies.

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