The Natural Resources Defense Council issued its 18th annual report on beach water quality, “Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches.”
Overall, our nation’s beaches are not doing well, but the main swimming area of Pensacola Beach known as Casino Beach received a 3-star rating. This designates it as one of the cleanest beaches in the nation, as far as pollution and bacterial content in the water.
In the photo below, you can see the crystal clear beautiful waters of Pensacola Beach, looking west from the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier.
While a 5-star rating is possible, 5-star ratings are only given to beaches where the water is tested more than once per week. Casino Beach is tested weekly. And every test showed that the water on Pensacola Beach met EPA standards.
The full report can be viewed in PDF format at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Fortunately, there is no stormwater runoff, or sewage runoff into the waters of Pensacola Beach. Rain water generally just puddles on the beach and soaks in, or is drained from the roads into Santa Rosa Sound. This keeps the Gulf side of Pensacola Beach nice and clean.
However, Quietwater Beach wasn’t as clean as Casino Beach. There were nine weeks in 2007 when the water quality was so poor that beach advisories had to be issued.
This is unfortunate, especially for families. Many parents like to take their young children to Quietwater Beach to avoid the dangerous wave action of the gulf, hence the name Quietwater. You also see a lot more boats and jet skis around Quietwater Beach.
When comparing Pensacola to other areas of the country, we are doing quite well. The beaches on the California coast can be scary at times. I remember reading a report from local professional surfer Sterling Spencer that he was sick for days from surfing in the waters of California. We are truly blessed to have such beautiful, clean and uncrowded beaches.
Now if we could just get ECUA to get our water quality improved.
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Many thanks to the Pensacola Beach Blogger for bringing this story to my attention (along with many other great local stories)