Water Quality Sampling in Biscayne Bay with Miami Waterkeeper


DISCOVERY Yacht World Cat 296 DC (Owner: Bill Fernandez)
Miami, Florida
November 30, 2023


Research Team

  • Aliza Karim
  • Addy Nagle
  • Julianna Alvarez

Project Overview

Miami Waterkeeper’s top priority is ensuring the safety of South Florida’s favorite waterways. By conducting regular water quality testing on land and by boat, MWK provides locals and visitors with information on the current bacteria levels in the surrounding waters. One can access these results, along with the Department of Health's (DOH) Healthy Beaches testing data, using the free Swim Guide App or Website.

Duration of Project

Ongoing; Monthly beginning in October 2023

Expedition Summary

On November 30th, The International SeaKeepers Society assisted Miami Waterkeeper onboard one of our DISCOVERY Yacht vessels to continue our monthly water quality sampling expeditions. This month, we cruised from Coral Gables up Biscayne Bay and around Downtown Miami. Three Miami Waterkeeper scientists conducted sampling at four sites of potential pollution assisted by MWK’s Marketing Coordinator, Environmental Policy Specialist and Executive Assistant. The team targeted a construction site by the Miami Circle National Historical Landmark as well as two other construction sites and a section of the Miami River during the retreat of high tide. Through a series of rinsing, filtering, and pouring, the Miami Waterkeeper team sampled for dissolved oxygen, enterococci, and nutrients in the water. These samples were then sent to the lab for testing.


Miami Waterkeeper and Department of Health sampling typically occurs from shore on Monday mornings with the latest test results available on Tuesday afternoon. If a site has high bacteria levels, Miami Waterkeeper will re-run the site’s samples again every day and alert the DOH of the pollution source until the issue is resolved.
The Environmental Protection Agency has set the following standards for water considered safe for swimming, which are used by DOH and Miami Waterkeeper:
0-70 CFU/MPN per 100 mL enterococci per sample: Safe for swimming
70+ CFU/MPN per 100 mL enterococci per sample: Not safe for swimming
SeaKeepers aims to assist Miami Waterkeeper in monthly offshore testing to provide the public with updated information on the health and safety of their treasured waterways.


Biscayne Bay, Florida

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