An Annual Report Examines Beach Water Quality

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Panama City - The Natural Resources Defense Council released an annual report on water quality on nationwide beaches. It also studies how well a county monitors it.

Beaches are graded on the percentage of contaminated water samples, how often the water is tested, the water quality over the past three years, and if the county issues prompt advisories online and at the beach.

The bay county beaches got four out of five stars. It was docked one because it only tests it's water once a week. You need to test at least twice a week to get a star for how frequent you monitor water quality. Bay County beat out Walton County which got three stars on it's beaches for only testing once a week and also for not issuing prompt advisories of the water quality.

The worst in the area was Gulf County though. Some of it's beaches had high levels of bacteria in recent years and according to the NRDC it does not always issue quick notices. 22 percent of water samples at monument beach in gulf county exceeded the national standard for bacteria.

Bay County TDC President Dan Rowe is glad to see the results the bay county beaches got.

"this is very good news for Panama City Beach, which is what we already know. We know that the water off the coast is beautiful, very clear and very clean," Rowe said.

The Federal Beach Act recommends that heavily used beaches be monitored at least once a week.

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