Environmentalists are concerned about proposed cuts in federal funding that has historically been provided to states for beach water quality testing. In his fiscal year 2014 budget, President Barack Obama has proposed eliminating $9.3 million that would have funded state testing programs. According to Florida’s Department of Health (DOH), beaches in 34 counties were tested weekly for bacteria since 2002. Recent budget cuts forced the DOH to scale back the program, which now relies solely on the federal grant for continued testing.
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) prepares an annual analysis of water quality and public notification data at coastal U.S. beaches. The 2013 Report found that the number of beach closing and advisory days decreased 14 percent from 2011, due in large measure to the drier beach season. More than 80 percent of closings and advisories were issued because bacteria levels in beach water
exceeded public health standards, indicating the potential presence of human or animal waste in the water.
For more information and a copy of the 2013 NRDC "Testing the Waters" report, see: