PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Visitors come to the Panhandle usually with one thing in mind, the beach.
However, recent waters tested as part of the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program have noted high amounts of enterococcus bacteria, which can be an indication of fecal pollution.
Testing locations reporting back poor water quality results are Bid-A-Wee Beach, the Panama City Beach Pier, Carl Gray Park, the Dupont Bridge, and Beach Drive.
Joe Scully of the Health Department says that ahead of the Labor Day weekend, you want to be aware of what’s in the water while you swim, “Even if its not in a location that we sample, do not go into the water if you have any open cuts or wounds, don’t swallow the water, you don’t wanna ingest any water, and if you do go in the water, when you come out just rinse off,” said Scully.
He added that there are various reasons for these results, “Typically we see elevated results and high bacteria levels after a lot of rainfall, which we have had a lot of that lately, storm water run off, it could also be caused by leaking sewage,” said Scully.
He advised that if you are beginning to feel ill, look out for certain symptoms.
“A normal healthy individual may notice gastrointestinal distress. Vomiting and diarrhea symptoms, that are similar to food poisoning,” said Scully.
Health officials say that those results can vary greatly from week to week, depending on how much runoff and stormwater drainage the area has seen before testing.