Wastewater Discharge In Tampa Bay Could Fuel Algal Blooms – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami / AP) – Environmentalists fear a recent discharge of sewage into Tampa Bay could worsen another outbreak of the dreaded red tide algal bloom.

Earlier this month, an estimated 215 million gallons of sewage were dumped into Tampa Bay from the old Piney Point fertilizer facility. About 11 miles away, red tide was found in water samples off Manatee County.

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“Piney Point loaded the gun, and then they hit the hammer back on the gun,” said Brian Rosegger, co-founder of the nearby Lost Coast Oyster Company.

The Florida Department of Conservation doesn’t believe the recent red tide is a direct result of the Piney Point discharge, but it could make the problem worse, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“Increased nutrients have the potential to aggravate these algal blooms, and samples are currently being taken more and more,” said a statement from the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

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A low concentration of the organism in the high tide can lead to respiratory problems for people along the coast, lead to fish mortality, and force the harvest of shellfish, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

State officials said no fish deaths were reported in Tampa Bay on Friday afternoon.

Ed Sherwood, executive director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, said the Piney Point sewage was estimated to have brought as much nitrogen into a section of lower Tampa Bay in a few weeks as the area would normally see in a year.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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