President Trump's budget would eliminate Florida's Healthy Beaches bacteria monitoring
Time and money may be running out for the program that tells you if it's safe to go to the beach.
President Donald Trump's proposed budget for 2018 would eliminate funding for Environmental Protection Agency grants that pay for the Florida Healthy Beaches program, which measures bacteria from fecal contamination at beaches and rivers.
The state health department has received $495,000 from the EPA to fund the program until Aug. 1, spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said in an email. The state is scheduled to receive $445,000 to pay for it until August 2018.
"We have not received word that our grant will be affected after the grant cycle in 2018," Gambineri wrote. "Should the grant opportunity not continue in the future, the department will consider alternative funding options."
The health department's county offices conduct the tests and post the results on their websites. In 2016, the Florida Healthy Beaches Program posted 153 avoid-water advisories.
The tests measure levels of enteric bacteria, which inhabit the intestinal tracts of humans and animals.The bacteria in water is an indication of fecal pollution.
Ingesting or contacting contaminated water can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, eye irritation and skin rashes.