TAMPA, Fla. -- The Fourth of July holiday means family fun on the water. Tampa Bay's beaches are considered some of the best in the world, but five area beaches have been designated as poor by the NRDC after testing revealed they are high in bacterial contamination.
Picnic Island In Tampa is one of the Bay area's dirtiest beaches, according to the NRDC, receiving only two of five stars. Water samples there indicate higher than acceptable levels of contaminates.
But four other Hillsborough beaches are even worse.
Davis Island Beach, close to downtown Tampa, and two beaches in the Apollo Beach area, Simmons Park and Bahia Beach, all garnered only one out of five stars, with more than 5 percent of water samples falling below state standards.
But the worst is Ben T. Davis Beach on the Hillsborough side of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. It only received one out of five stars for water quality, and 14 percent of the water samples fell below state standards, making it one of the worst in the state.
In July 2011, state funding for monitoring beachwater quality was eliminated. As a result, monitoring at many beaches was eliminated entirely or reduced to every other week instead of weekly.