Unless you like swimming with poop, avoid these Florida beaches

For the Herald

With the Fourth of July weekend almost here, travelers should avoid certain Florida Pandhandle beaches, unless they like fecal bacteria in their water.

The Florida Health Department warned beachgoers to stay out of the surf at two Walton County beaches, Miramar Beach and Blue Mountain Beach.

A few beaches in Okaloosa County are not at “satisfactory” levels of fecal bacteria: Garniers Park, Poquito Park, Rocky Bayou State Park, East Pass, Clement E. Taylor Park and Henderson Park. These beaches don’t have no-swim warnings.

Employees with the Healthy Beaches Program regularly test beaches statewide for things like fecal bacteria, usually indicated by the presence of enterococci bacteria, which live in intestinal tracts. When this bacteria shows up, it usually means fecal pollution in the water. Fecal pollution could come from stormwater runoff, animal or human waste.

If a swimmer with an open wound comes in contact with this bacteria, it could cause disease, infection or rashes.