After several south Florida beaches were forced to temporarily close due to fecal pollution this summer, the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade issued a swimming advisory on Friday for Collins Park in Miami Beach. In September, at least nine beaches had to be closed because of fecal bacteria.
In 1998, five of Florida’s coastal counties began monitoring for enterococci bacteria under a grant-funded pilot program. In August 2000, the Beach Water Sampling Program was extended to 30 of Florida’s coastal counties through state legislation and funding.
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 stormwater runoff, pets, 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.
Exposure to enterococci could specifically lead to urinary tract infections, diverticulitis, or meningitis.
In September, at least nine beaches were issued no-swimming advisories due to fecal pollution. These beaches included Golden Beach, Sunny Isles, Surfside, North Shore, 53rd Street in Miami Beach, Haulover South, Key Biscayne Beach Club, Crandon South, and Crandon North.
All these beaches have reopened.
After collecting two consecutive water samples and finding high levels of enterococci bacteria colonies, the Florida Department of Health issued a health advisory on Friday for Collins Park in Miami Beach. With no end in sight, Floridians will continue to become sick from swimming in fecal-polluted waters.