Health Officials Seeking Source of Beach Bacteria

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Ray Hardy says Mashes Sands is picturesque. He comes almost every day for walks on the beach.

"Beautiful scenery, and it feels nice; the fresh air, the salt water and the creatures along the beach."

Deep down though, the beach is not so perfect. In recent years Mashes Sands has made the list of Florida's worst beaches because of bacteria.

Health Department tests in the past have confirmed fecal material in the water and that has prompted advisories and closings.

Erin Drapeau brings her kids but keeps them from taking a dip.

"It shouldn't stop you from coming out to the beach. You just shouldn't go in the water."

Now the Wakulla County Health Department is trying to get to the bottom of this. Tuesday they were out on the water looking around and trying to find the source of the pollution.

"It could even be something as simple as the runoff from somebody that has a really nice yard," said Padraic Juarez of the Health Department. "It could be that somebody has hooked up an extra bedroom downstairs and ran a sewer pipe out into the bay."

Juarez spent the day taking pictures and taking notes. In the coming days students from Florida State University and the University of South Florida will be taking water samples for testing.

Results from the sanitary survey are expected this summer.