The Environmental Health Water Programs protect the health of visitors and residents of Bay County through inspections/monitoring of the following water programs: Public Swimming Pools, Healthy Beaches, Residential, Multi-Family and Limited Use drinking water systems and the State Underground Petroleum Environmental Response Act (SUPERACT) facilities.
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Necrotizing Fascitis and Vibrio Vulnificus Key Facts
- Necrotizing fasciitis (many times called “flesh eating bacteria” by the media) is caused by more than one type of bacteria. Several bacteria, common in our environment can cause this condition – the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis is Group A strep.
- People do not “catch” necrotizing fasciitis; it is a complication or symptom of a bacterial infection that has not been promptly or properly treated.
- Sometimes people call Vibrio vulnificus the “flesh eating bacteria.” Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria found in warm salty waters such as the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding bays. Concentrations of this bacteria are higher when the water is warmer.
- Necrotizing fasciitis and severe infections with Vibrio vulnificus are rare. These infections can be treated with antibiotics and sometimes require surgery to remove damaged tissue. Rapid diagnosis is the key to effective treatment and recovery.
- If you are healthy with a strong immune system, your chances of developing or having complications due to this condition are extremely low.
Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program
The Bay County Health Department conducts saltwater beach water quality monitoring in accordance with the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program. Water samples are collected twice a month between March and October. Ten sites are tested from the west to the east end of the county. Sample results are rated poor, moderate, or good based on total bacteria counts.
The samples are analyzed for enteric bacteria. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage. Poor results are posted as an “Advisory” at the affected beaches and those beaches are re-sampled the following week. A public service announcement is also issued.
Healthy Beaches advisories are designed to protect swimmers from increased risk of gastrointestinal illnesses. At a lower occurring level, there may also be increased risks of upper respiratory infections, skin rashes, and ear infections. Healthy Beaches advisories are not related to Necrotizing fasciitis, a rare bacterial infection.
Red tide may cause coughing, sneezing and water eyes. People with chronic respiratory problems, should avoid areas with active red tide. Seafood sold in restaurants, hotels, grocery stores are markets is safe to eat.
For questions and health concerns related to red tide call the Florida Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
For additional information, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Comission's Red Tide page by clicking the link here: https://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/. (Please note, clicking this link will open in a new window and take you outside of Bay CHD's webiste.)
Public Swimming Pools
Department personnel inspect all public swimming pools twice a year, more often if necessary, for conformance to the provisions of Chapter64E-9* Florida Administrative Code Chapter, which sets forth health standards, safety equipment requirements and water treatment conditions. The goal is to assist those responsible for the everyday operation and maintenance of public swimming pools in maintaining a disease and accident free facility.
Because Bay County has a proportionately large number of swimming pools, a year round inspection program is required to ensure that a minimum of two inspections per pool is accomplished each year. Additionally, inspections are performed on newly constructed pools, in response to complaints and, as requested, for technical assistance. Re-inspections are made, as necessary, to obtain compliance with current state regulations.
For more information about the Public Swimming Pool program or to download a permit application please visit:
Limited Use Community and Commercial Water Programs
This program is designed to protect the drinking water of public water supply systems (residential & commercial) serving less than 25 people per day, 60 days or more per year, or those having less than 15 connections. This program requires an annual inspection, quarterly bacteriological water analysis, and a 3 or 5 year sampling for chemical pollutants. Additional requirements can be found in Chapter 64E-8* Florida Administrative Code.
For more information about the Limited Use Water program or to download a permit application please visit:http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/drinking-water/limited-use-wells.html
Water Sampling Program
Well Surveillance Program
This program is used to identify any public wells and any private wells within ¼ mile of a petroleum storage tank. Owners of identified wells are contacted to obtain permission for staff to sample the wells for petroleum by products. Contaminated wells are replaced, abandoned or filtered at no cost to the owner.
For more information about the Well Surveillance program please visit:http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/drinking-water/well-surveys.html