Environment

Careful where you swim. There’s a lot of poop at popular South Florida and state beaches

Why do they close beaches in Florida?

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection frequently monitors water quality, and routinely collects algal bloom samples. When toxicity levels present a risk to human health, the state will issue advisories and may also post warning signs.
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection frequently monitors water quality, and routinely collects algal bloom samples. When toxicity levels present a risk to human health, the state will issue advisories and may also post warning signs.

Before heading to the beach, you might want to check if it’s safe to swim at your chosen spot.

Elevated poop levels have led to Florida Department of Health swimming advisories for a total of eight beaches in Miami-Dade. Other beaches across the state — including six in Okaloosa County — were also put on warning Wednesday.

The advisories for Miami-Dade issued Wednesday were for: Surfside, 93rd Street; North Shore, 73rd Street; Collins Park, 21st Street; South Beach at Collins Avenue; South Beach at South Pointe Drive; and Virginia Beach.

Both of Key Biscayne’s Crandon beaches are already under swim advisories — Crandon South since Aug. 2 and Crandon North since Aug. 7.

The advisories were issued after water samples showed a high level of enterococci, a bacteria usually found in the intestinal tract of humans and animals.

South Florida is not alone in having problems at beaches.

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Also on Wednesday, the Department of Health issued six advisories for Okaloosa County.

Liza Jackson Park, Garniers Park, Marler Park, Wayside Park, Lincoln Park and Rocky Bayou State Park were closed because of elevated levels of bacteria, according to a press release.

All six beaches tested in the “poor” range, which indicates the sample contains 71 or greater enterococci per 100 milliliters of water.

Some of these parks, like Rocky Bayou and Garniers, have repeatedly tested poorly for the bacteria. Nearly half of Rocky Bayou’s 2019 water samples have yielded poor results, according to state records. Similarly, Garniers’ last three tests show high amounts of the bacteria.

While it’s not clear why Okaloosa beaches have seen a recent uptick in bacteria levels, the agency stated it could be related to storm water runoff, wildlife or human sewage.

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Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
C. Isaiah Smalls II is a reporter covering breaking and trending news for the Miami Herald. Previously, he worked for ESPN’s The Undefeated as part of their inaugural class of Rhoden Fellows. He is a graduate of both Columbia University and Morehouse College.
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