Water Quality Sampling in Biscayne Bay with Miami Waterkeeper

34 PM-1

Miami, Florida
February 12, 2024


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 since October 2023

Expedition Summary

On February 12th, The International SeaKeepers Society took Miami Waterkeeper out to an area near Star Island, in response to a call about a sewer pipe rupture. This was also part of our partnership with Miami Water Keeper to patrol the Bay on a monthly basis to opportunistically take water samples in areas that either commonly exhibit higher levels of pollution and/or bacteria. a ruptured sewer line would definitely be a cause for concern in terms of bacteria and nutrients that may contribute to harmful algal blooms. As usual, the team collected bacterial, nutrient and chlorophyll samples. While sampling this area, water was still gushing from the sewer pipes. Although the official warning from the county had been lifted earlier that morning, witnessing this pipe rupture prompted Addy Nagle of Miami Waterkeeper to call it in, thus reinstating the warning status - true real-time impact of our work together in Biscayne Bay.


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, Miami, Florida

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