Florida has landed in fifth place in the annual beachwater quality rankings from the Natural Resources Defense Council. While some counties had as many as 13 percent of their water samples exceed federal bacteria standards, Broward County's number was down at 2 percent; Palm Beach and Miami-Dade were both at 3 percent.
While some Gulf Coast beaches are still being affected by the 2010 BP oil spill, overall, only 3 percent of Florida's tested water samples exceeded federal standards -- down from 4 percent in every year between 2007 and 2011. The NRDC notes, however, that the recent elimination of state funding for water testing could mean there are simply fewer samples to test than in previous years.
Phil Foster Park in Palm Beach County received the lowest marks in South Florida, with 19 percent of its samples exceeding limits for either enterococcus or fecal coliform. It still did better than Garniers Beach in Okaloosa County (31 percent) and Ben T. Davis Beach in Hillsborough County (21 percent).
The NRDC has an interactive map and detailed table available on its website, if you want to look up specific details on any of your favorite swimmin' holes. The Broward County beaches that had samples exceeding federal standards are:
- Birch State Park (2 percent)
- Commercial Boulevard (4 percent)
- Custer Street (4 percent)
- Dania Beach (2 percent)
- Hallandale Beach Boulevard (2 percent)
- Harrison Street (2 percent)
- Minnesota Street (4 percent)
- NE 16th Street, Pompano Beach (4 percent)
- Sebastian Street (2 percent)
It should be noted, though, that none of these tests resulted in a swimming advisory, unlike Palm Beach's Phil Foster Park, which earned 37 advisories on its own. Up north, Lantana Municipal Beach had two advisories, and Dubois Park had another two.