FRIDAY UPDATE: Walton County lifts health advisory and drains bulging dune lakes
July 02, 2010 5:37
The health advisory has been lifted with two clear high tides and Emergency Management officials have resumed work on the Coastal Dune Lake Protection Plan. Walton County Health Department officials assessed the location impacted by the health advisory and determined that it was no longer necessary.
Tar balls continue washing ashore and officials are closely monitoring the situation as the holiday weekend nears. Walton County beach patrol deputies are working with Emergency Management personnel by responding to reports of oil and assessing the findings. All Walton County beaches are open.
State Officials have provided health notices that will be posted permanently at all beach access points in Walton County. In the future there will be no health advisories issued and this notice will permanently exist until there are no effects from the oil spill. Signs will begin to be posted this weekend throughout the 26 miles of beach.
Most of the Coastal Dune Lakes are open and water levels are being lowered, Stallworth and Oyster are being opened by end of day. Oyster lake will not be opened completely but will be partially opened to allow the water level to lower. Deere Lake is the final lake remaining closed, it will be opened either today or tomorrow.
The county continues to research companies capable of provding independent water testing, which will be in addition to current testing being performed by the Department of Environmental Protection. The county hopes to have results of recent testing from the Department of Environmental Protection today or tomorrow. Once results are made available to the county, they will be posted on the Walton County Sheriff’s Office website for the public to view.
Air quality test results continue to be consistent with values typical for this time of year and no obvious influence due to the oil spill is evident.
The Health Department has a team on the beach monitoring the conditions and testing local waters for bacteria. These results will also be posted on the Sheriff’s Office website as soon as they are available.
The county has purchased a machine to assist in the clean-up of tar balls and other products on the beach shore. County officials traveled to Pensacola last week for a demonstration of a Beach Tech 2000 machine being used for clean-up. The officials were impressed with the machine and reported that it could be beneficial to the clean-up of Walton County beaches. The Beach Tech 2000 should arrive soon and will be used on Walton County’s beaches.
Walton County Emergency Management officials would like to remind residents and visitors, the beach flag system is directly related to the condition of the current. The flag system does not represent anything to do with oil.