Fla. Legislature passes bill to warn beachgoers about contamination

By Bruce Ritchie | 03/08/2024 12:29 PM EST

“We clear our swimming waters for sharks but not for contamination from sewage, oil or anything else,” said one lawmaker.

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — The Florida Senate on Thursday passed a House bill that requires state health officials to issue advisories within 24 hours for high bacteria levels and to close beaches if necessary.

The House and Senate this week voted unanimously to pass the bill, H.B. 165, after some legislators this week recounted horror stories about people becoming sick from contaminated waterways.

State Sen. Gayle Harrell, a Republican from Stuart, said Thursday during Senate floor debate she had a friend who fell off a dock and wound up suffering health problems.


“She received such a virulent infection that she almost lost her arm because of it,” Harrell said. “It’s very important for people to know what is going on in our waters.”