Dr. Webster’s BLOG

Weekly Beach Report

Is the beach safe this week?


We have just received some troubling news from the Florida Department of Health. The funding for the weekly testing of the water for our beaches has been cut back. This is statewide- and not just a local issue. Local counties may choose to pay for the shortfall of funds out of their own funds- and as of now, it is unclear if Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties will opt to allocate funds to continue with weekly testing- although it seems that Pinellas has not, since their last update came on 9/8, and the next test is scheduled for next week. The funds are available only for bi-weekly testing, which in our opinion is a bad idea. Due to the potential for water quality to change quickly due to heavy rains and runoff, a weekly testing schedule is critical to ensure the safety of all who enter our precious waters.

What can you do? I suggest writing your County Commissioner to voice your concerns on this issue. Tell them that it is important to have the water quality of our beaches tested on a weekly basis- and they need to allocate the funds for this. Follow this link to find out how to contact your county commissioner for Hillsborough County: Hillsborough County Commissioners and go here to contact your Pinellas County Commissioners: Pinellas County Commissioners


ADVISORIES ISSUED: The heavy afternoon thunderstorms have recently taken their tolls on the water quality around Tampa. At this time, it is recommended to avoid entering the water at Davis Island Beach. For the second consecutive week, an advisory has been issued due to high levels of enterococcus bacteria, which can pose health hazards for both humans and our pets. At this time, the other dog beach in Hillsborough County at Picnic Island has good water quality tested on 9/16. The Florida Department of Health has not yet posted results for Pinellas County beaches- with the last reporting date being 9/8. We will update these results here when they are posted.

Water samples are taken by the Florida Department of Public Health from dozens of beaches around the state to test for fecal coliform and enterococcus bacteria. These samples are taken usually on Wednesdays of each week- unless it is a public holiday.  It takes a day before test results are back- and we will report on these as soon as we can review and post them here. The quality of the water is affected by numerous factors- including heavy rains which can flush contaminants from the land into our waterways into the gulf. This blog does not discuss red tide and we are working on addressing that in a separate blog at this time.

There are lots of public beaches in our area- but we will only be posting on the following beaches since they allow our furry friends to play. They are:

  • Davis Island
  • Picnic Island
  • Fort Desoto
  • Apollo Beach Nature Preserve*(Currently closed for maintenance/construction)
  • Honeymoon Island

*Apollo Beach Nature Preserve is not a site that is tested, however there is a test site within a few miles of this dog beach- Bahia Beach. We will report the findings for this site.  Use this data at your own risk.

You may be asking about Gandy Beach. Unfortunately, the Florida Department of Health does not currently do testing at this site. If this changes, we will include it.

Hillsborough County Water Quality Results Test Date: 9/16


Picnic Island:Good Results 9/16

Apollo Beach Nature Preserve:  The nature reserve has re-opened. Water quality at nearby Bahia Beach is GOOD on 9/16

Pinellas County Water Quality Results: Test Date 9/8/2020

Fort Desoto: Good Results 9/8

Honeymoon Island: Good Results 9/8

For all local beach reports (includes non-dog beaches)- follow these links:

Hillsborough County Beaches

Pinellas County Beaches


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