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people on beach surveying oil impacts

Oil impacts are surveyed and documented at Ft. Pickens


In response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill samples have been collected by numerous state and federal agencies for analysiz of air, oil product, seafood, sediment, water and wildlife. DEP collected air, sediment and water samples in addition to regular monitoring and sampling during the spill. DEP, in coordination with the Florida Department of Health (DOH), is currently conducting water and sediment sampling along Northwest Florida beaches. Baseline and pre-assessment sampling has also been conducted by DEP in accordance with the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process.


Current Sampling Efforts

Navarre Beach

DEP staff collecting a water sample at Navarre Beach


DEP began monitoring Northwest Florida beaches the week of February 7, 2011 for persistent oil spill contaminants in water and sediment. DEP’s routine beach monitoring was reduced from scheduled regular sampling to event-driven sampling (i.e., major storm events, large scale deposition of oil product on the beach) on August 23, 2011. During this time detectable concentrations of PAHs were rarely observed and never exceeded DOH’s human health screening levels. Any future event-driven sampling results will be posted on this webpage as the data become available.

All test results in Florida are compared to the adopted Florida human health screening levels. Human health screening levels for chemicals of concern are set for either water or sediment below which there is no significant risk for long-term human health effects. Based on analysis by DOH, the data collected to date have indicated no risk to human health from oil spill contaminants. Raw data from testing can be viewed on the Beach Health Results website. An explanation of what this data means to your health, as determined by DOH, is available at www.myfloridaeh.com/beachnames.html.



DEP Testing During the Spill

scuba diver taking sediment sample

DEP Coral Reef Conservation Program diver collecting sediment samples for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill response.


DEP put in place additional water/sediment sampling and air monitoring in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Routine oil spill sampling by DEP was completed on September 9, 2010 for water and September 20, 2010 for air. All water sampling hits (samples that had measurable levels of petroleum detected) did not exceed EPA’s human health benchmarks. All air sampling results collected showed Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) values well below levels of concern for public health.









NRDA Sampling

DEP staff member conducts pre-assessment baseline sampling

DEP staff member conducts pre-assessment baseline sampling data along Florida's coast.


As of January 20, 2011, NRDA teams in the five Gulf States have collected nearly 30,000 total samples, including those collected by 89 offshore NOAA research cruises. Types of samples include water, tissue, sediment, submersed aquatic vegetation, tarball and oil samples. Laboratories have conducted about 53,000 total NRDA analyses on these samples. Teams have surveyed more than 4,000 linear miles of shoreline. They have documented 1,053 miles of oiled shoreline and are reporting that 83 miles of shoreline are still heavily or moderately oiled - none of which are in Florida. Nearly 10,000 NRDA samples have been taken in Florida. Data is available on NOAA’s Gulf Restoration data website or Florida’s http://nrdata.org/.




In Florida

In accordance with the first phase of the NRDA process, pre-assessment, baseline sampling was conducted by DEP throughout Florida from April – July 2010. Sampling was done along Florida’s entire coastline, including the Atlantic Coast. View the timeline of baseline sampling in Florida.

After the first oil impact in Florida on June 4, 2010, pre-assessment sampling began to determine where injury has occurred due to oil spill impacts. The majority of pre-assessment sampling in Florida was completed around September 2010, however, data is still being collected in some parts of the state. Most of Florida’s current efforts related to NRDA are transitioning to the second phase of the NRDA process, restoration planning.

NRDA data for Florida can be found on http://nrdata.org/ by clicking the “Download Data” tab, and then “Florida Data” to view an Excel file available for public distribution. Maps of various samples can be viewed by clicking the “Maps” tab and selecting a type of sample from the list.


Additional Testing


Gulf Shrimp


Other Florida state agencies including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) collected fish and shellfish tissue samples for chemical analyses as well as seagrass and coral sampling. Samples were taken in all 35 of Florida’s coastal counties immediately following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Raw data of these samples can be found at http://nrdata.org.

DACS continues to conduct regular monitoring of Florida’s Gulf seafood to ensure it’s safety. Visit Health & Safety for more information on seafood testing.



Important Phone Numbers

  • Claims
    (800) 916-4893
  • Report Oil
    (800) 320-0519
  • Environment/Community Hotline
    (866) 448-5816

  • Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center
    (713) 323-1670
  • DEP Press Office
    (850) 245-2112
  • News Archive

Last updated: August 25, 2011

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