221 Hospital Dr., NE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
The goal of the program is to prevent waterborne illness by advising Okaloosa residents and visitors against recreating in waters potentially contaminated with human pathogens.
Environmental specialists test the waters of 11 Okaloosa County beaches. Site selection along our local beaches considered the number of people that use the beach and the potential of being impacted by nearby pollution sources (such as storm water or waste water outfalls, septic tanks, etc.).
Testing is conducted to determine the level of enteric bacteria (enterococci) in the water. Enteric bacteria are bacteria that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets, wildlife and human sewage. If these bacteria are present in high concentrations in recreational waters and they are ingested while swimming or enter the skin through a cut or sore, they may cause human disease, infections, or rashes.
Depending on the bacteria levels, a health advisory may be issued, and posted signs are used to advise the community and tourists.