PALMETTO, Fla. - Tens of thousands of boaters are preparing to hit the waters of Tampa Bay this weekend and many are asking if the water is safe following the crisis at Piney Point.
"I swim in the water. I have friends that fish -- there’s just natural concern about what’s going to happen in the Bay," shared Brent Foster, a boater from St. Pete.
Brent says he will stay in the northern part of Tampa Bay and won't be heading south.
"At least for the short-term until we know what’s going on," Foster said.
Dr. Steven Murawsk with the USF College of Marine Science is trying to figure out what’s going on. He says researchers have been tracking the water’s movement and testing whether it’s safe for humans.
READ Florida lawmakers plan $200m to clean up, close Piney Point reservoir
"All the modeling we have indicates the water being discharged is staying in the southeast part of the bay -- so from Piney Point down to the Skyway Bridge in a fairly narrow area so much of the Bay is not affected by this," Murawsk explained.
The Florida DEP has also been testing in multiple locations and says the water is safe and is not radioactive. The main concern is that it’s heavy in nutrients such as phosphate, nitrates and ammonia, which are known to contribute to algae blooms that are harmful to marine life.
"We don’t think the pollutants would be dangerous to human health," Dr. Murawsk told FOX 13.