Water Quality Sampling in Biscayne Bay with Miami Waterkeeper


SeaKeepers' Vessel DISCOVERY
Miami, Florida
October 2023


Research Team

  • Aliza Karim
  • Addy Nagle
  • Julianna Alvarez
  • Edysmar Diaz-Cruz

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. https://www.theswimguide.org/

Duration of Project

Ongoing; monthly beginning October 2023

Expedition Summary

On October 30th, The International SeaKeepers Society boarded its vessel, DISCOVERY with our partners at Miami Waterkeeper to venture into Biscayne Bay and conduct water quality sampling of some of Miami’s favorite waterways. The team of four navigated around the bay, conducting sampling at four sites of potential pollution due to sewage overspills, failing sediment curtains, and other emissions from the overflowing city. On this first SeaKeepers’ water quality testing expedition with Miami Waterkeeper, the scientists located construction sites to sample as the lack of recent rain made sediment plumes and sewage runoffs less likely to occur. 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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