Health advisory issued for island beach access

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staff reports

The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County (DOH-Okaloosa) has issued a health advisory for the Gulf of Mexico in the vicinity of Emerald Promenade Beachwalk.

That is the last county beach access on Okaloosa Island before access is restricted due to Eglin Air Force Base.

The Department of Health conducts bi-weekly saltwater beach water quality monitoring at 11 sites through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program. Samples are collected from March through the end of October.

The water samples are analyzed for enteric bacteria (enterococci) that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals and which may cause human disease, infections, or rashes. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from stormwater runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage.

The Emerald Promenade health advisory is based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended standards for enterococci. This should be considered a potential health risk to the bathing public.

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