water quality blog

Water Quality Testing Update: New "Special Status" for COVID-19 Impacts

Miami Waterkeeper's routine water quality monitoring program involves weekly sampling from 8 sites around Biscayne Bay. The samples that are collected are analyzed for fecal indicator bacteria. When concentrated in excess, this bacteria can result in swim advisories. Each week, the Miami Waterkeeper teams posts the water quality sampling results on our 8 sites and an additional 31 sampling sites on our free online app Swim Guide

Due to safety measures regarding COVID-19, and following the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendations, Miami Waterkeeper AND Florida Department of Health will be suspending water quality sampling for the time being. Miami Waterkeeper has put a 'Special Status' on all of the Swim Guide beaches for the South-East region we manage.

Currently, Miami-Dade AND Broward Counties have issued mandatory beach closures (read the full announcement HERE for Miami-Dade county and the State Executive Order HERE for Broward and Palm Beach counties). As a safety measure Miami Waterkeeper is classifying all beaches with a 'Special Status' on the Swim Guide app/website. Governor DeSantis has given local authorities the discretion to close beaches and parks and with this comes a suspension to the Florida Healthy Beaches Program until parks and beaches reopen. 


What does “special status” mean for our beaches on Swim Guide?

Beaches on Swim Guide are granted "Special Status" at a site if there is an emergency, or if Miami Waterkeeper has set the beach status based on special knowledge or information -- such as the COVID-19 social distancing recommendations. Below is an example of what “53rd Street Beach” looks like on Swim Guide with this updated "Special Status" status. 


Please note: this "Special Status" does not mean there are advisories for high levels of bacteria or that the water quality is poor. This status reflects CDC guidelines for avoiding public spaces and congregating in large groups of 10 individuals or more. Click here to read more on CDC guidelines.

We will continue to alert the public if there are any water quality advisories coming from special circumstances that may arise outside of regular water monitoring efforts by both Miami Waterkeeper and the Florida Department of Health. Please stay tuned for more information and updates from Miami Waterkeeper as changes continue to arise in South Florida. 

From all of us at Miami Waterkeeper, please stay happy and healthy!

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