MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Officials from Broward and Miami-Dade counties were expecting to get results on the presence of red tide at their beaches by the end of the day Wednesday or Thursday.
The FWC released a report late Wednesday indicating that there needed to be more review time for tests done in Miami-Dade and Broward.
Results are now expected sometime on Friday.
Earlier this week, Palm Beach County officials confirmed the presence of red tide in their coastal waters.
Health officials in Palm Beach County announced these beaches remain open: Phil Foster Park, Peanut Island, and Ocean Ridge Hammock. Other county beaches remain closed.
Water off Haulover Beach, Miami Beach and Key Biscayne is currently being tested.
There are also lots of frustrations in Deerfield Beach, which also remains closed, as they were expecting red tide results on Wednesday as well.
On Monday, the city of Deerfield Beach sent out a tweet saying that beach waters were being tested by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission for possible red tide. The city added that if red tide is confirmed, they would shut the fishing pier and put up “no swimming” signs. Results were expected today, the city said.
But at the expected time — around 5 pm — the city learned from the FWC website that the results would not be coming today. That did not sit well with Deerfield Beach Mayor Bill Ganz.
“What we were told is that we were supposed to have results today between 4-5 o’clock that obviously did not happen,” Ganz said. “ We’re in a little bit of limbo right now and we were hoping for more of a sense of urgency and that’s frustrating for us.”
Ganz said the city doesn’t want to overreact to a potential problem that doesn’t exist. Conversely, they don’t want to put residents, tourists and businesspeople in harms way of red tide. They simply want answers from the state that they’re not getting.
“We’ve had difficulty getting beyond a certain level at the FWC and when they tell us there’s going to be results, we hope they deliver on those and they haven’t and that’s a problem,” he said.
Ganz hopes the state follows through and produces results by the end of the week. For now, they’re in a holding pattern and want to protect their residents, tourists, businessowners and their employees.
“This has a tremendous impact when it comes to public safety,” Ganz said. “We want to make sure we’re doing right by the public.”
CBS4 News emailed and called FWC this afternoon for more details on why the results weren’t ready. We did not get a response.
Palm Beach County beaches from R.G. Kreusler Park north to the Martin County remain closed after continued reports of irritation from red tide.
Earlier Wednesday, Chopper 4 was over a fish kill in North Palm Beach in the area of John D. Macarthur Beach State Park.
Dead fish lined sections of the beach as workers picked them up and dumped them.
The question now is whether scenes like that play out on beaches in Broward, Miami-Dade and the Keys.
So far no, but beachgoers have reported eye irritation and coughing in Deerfield Beach.
City and county officials across South Florida are awaiting the results of water testing to determine if red tide, a naturally occurring algae bloom found predominantly on the state’s west coast, is in East Coast waters.
CBS4 spoke with Ken Medina, a dive instructor and employee at Lauderdale Diver.
He’s deeply worried about the long term impact of red tide and other water related problems in the state.
“If something’s not done, it will not only destroy the scuba industry, it will destroy tourism altogether,” Medina said. “There’s really no other reason to come to Florida except for the beaches and the water.”
The Florida red tide organism, known as K. brevis, produces brevetoxins that can affect the central nervous system of fish and other vertebrates, causing these animals to die.
Wave action can break open K. brevis cells and release these toxins into the air, leading to respiratory irritation in humans.
For people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, red tide can cause serious illness.
“The algae that we’re experiencing, this is our Flint, Michigan,” said environmentalist Eric Eikenberg from the Everglades Foundation.
Environmentalists say the red tide is made worse by blue green algae blooms from contaminated water released to the east and west from Lake Okeechobee. But they say there’s a simple solution which needs federal approval.
“There is as project that is pending in the United States Senate that would call for the construction of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee so that the lake water can be stored, cleaned and sent south where it belongs,” explained Eikenberg.
Florida’s Gulf Coast has been hit hard by red tide this summer, causing a massive die off of both fish and other sea life.
No one should be surprised if samples of Red Tide show up on Broward/Miami-Dade beaches. The ocean currents are likely carrying Red Tide into the Gulf Stream which transports it north near our coast. Our weather pattern now of strong onshore winds could push it toward the beaches pic.twitter.com/qwGH08DdjT
— Craig Setzer (@CraigSetzer) October 2, 2018
Officials say red tide is uncommon on the state’s Atlantic Coast, with only eight outbreaks since 1953.
There have been 57 Gulf Coast outbreaks since 1953.
It’s not known if or when tests will be conducted in Monroe County.