New EPA rules lead to tougher beach water testing

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New federal guidelines issued this week by the Environmental Protection Agency may cause Florida to update the standard it uses to measure water quality at beaches.

This could result in more red flags to alert swimmers of unsafe conditions, namely when bacteria counts are as much as 40 percent below what the state considers safe.

The state would be required to follow these new regulations, which would come into effect in 2016, in order to continue receiving its federal aid for monitoring water quality at beaches.

The rules are “intended to strengthen protection of the health of America’s beachgoers through safer water standards, improved beach monitoring, and better notification of advisories or closures,” said EPA spokeswoman Emily Zimmerman.