Determining Bay County's Water Quality

By: Craig Gold
By: Craig Gold

Bay County is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but just one week ago swimming in these waters might have posed a health hazard.

A rise in the level of bacteria was to blame because of runoff from the few weeks ago. We know this because the Department of Health conducts water quality testing on a weekly basis.

"We get our results back usually Tuesday afternoon if we do them on Monday. Everything's posted late Tuesday afternoon as far as the results of what we've found," says Johnny Rivera with the Department of Health.

So how do they test the water? It's actually rather simple.

"What I'm doing is checking the current and which way it's going. I'm checking the water temperature, the air temperature and pulling a sample."

After that they fill out a little bit of paperwork and send the water sample over to the lab. The majority of beachgoers we spoke to had no clue that the water was tested once a week.

"Every Monday morning I'm here rain, shine, sleet, doesn't matter."

But most everyone seemed to be pleased with the idea.

"I think it's a real good idea actually. I think they should do that. You know kids go swimming in the ocean and stuff. They should be aware if the water's not safe they should monitor it," says Gerald Kelly, a beach resident.

The water is safe for now, but the Department of Health urges people to take heed to the warning signs on the beach should bacteria make a return in high levels.

You can check out Bay County water test results on the state Department of Health's website at www.doh.state.fl.us. Click on "Beach Water Quality”.


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