Recreational Water Quality Results updated
The statewide testing program tests for enterococci, which the US Environmental Protection Agency has recommended states adopt as a saltwater quality indicator. According to studies conducted by the EPA, enterococci have a greater correlation with swimming-associated gastrointestinal illness in both marine and fresh waters than other bacterial indicator organisms, and are less likely to "die off" in saltwater. If an enterococci result were observed to exceed 70 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of beach water sampled and a resampling result also exceeds this value, then an "Advisory" will be issued for the sampling site. In St. Petersburg, protocol requires re-testing on a daily basis until residents and visitors can be assured the water quality falls within acceptable ranges.
Enterococci are enteric bacteria that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals. The presence of enteric bacteria can be an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage. If they are present in high concentrations in recreational waters and are ingested while swimming or enter the skin through a cut or sore, they may cause human disease, infections or rashes.
Florida Healthy Beaches Program Categories are:
Good = 0-35 Enterococci per 100 milliliters of marine water
Moderate = 36-70 Enterococci per 100 milliliters of marine water
Poor = 71 or greater Enterococci per 100 milliliters of marine water