Is It Safe to Swim? Find Out Here:
The map below shows where we sample and up-to-date results about the level of bacteria found in each water sample.
Clicking on a colored symbol will present details of the monitoring results.
Suncoast Waterkeeper uses the same standard operating procedures and National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program Certified lab as local government agencies.
We also show the results in the same three categories used by the Florida Department of Health’s Healthy Beaches Program.
We email local and state government agencies weekly with the results. However, no actions to warn, trace or plan have been taken to address the problems we have found.
How We Monitor
SCWK conducts regular monitoring of bacterial levels in 11 recreational sites throughout the Suncoast. The Benchmark EnviroAnalytical lab examines the samples for harmful bacteria called Enterococci, which is associated with fecal pollution from humans and animals.
The results are posted weekly on our social media feeds.
This long term monitoring project has been possible only because of generous grant funding and support from the Mote Scientific Foundation, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, the Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership, Manatee Fish and Game Association, and individual citizens like you.
Don’t see an area that you would like monitored? For $160 per month, we can add your location to our list of monitoring sites.
Collection of Samples
Our long term monitoring project begins with the collection of 11 samples every Tuesday from the same locations. These sites are used for recreational purposes but are not tested by the government.
The collected water samples are processed at Benchmark EnviroAnalytical Inc. and undergo lab examination to measure the amount of harmful bacteria (Enterococci) associated with animal fecal pollution. This testing process takes approximately 48 hours to complete.
Results & Updates
Once the lab examination is completed, we post the results on our social media accounts every Friday. This allows followers to stay updated and informed about water quality conditions in their area.
The Swim Guide
Details of our latest water-quality information also are displayed in the Suncoast Waterkeeper Swim Guide.
What is Enterococci and Why Do We Track It?
Enterococci normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals. The presence of enteric bacteria can indicate fecal pollution, which can come from stormwater runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage. If these bacteria 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 illness or infections.
According to studies conducted by the EPA, enterococci have a greater correlation with swimming associated gastrointestinal illness in marine and fresh waters than other bacterial indicator organisms and are less likely to die off in saltwater. If an enterococci result exceeds 70 cells per 100 milliliters of marine water sampled, then an Advisory should be issued for the sampling site.
Suncoast Waterkeeper will continue to monitor sites with consistently poor test results and follow up by notifying appropriate local officials. See the SCWK Sick of Sewage Campaign and success stories.