Red tide detected near Pasco County

Slowly but surely, red tide is making its way up the coast. 

This week, three samples came back positive for the organism that causes red tide in Pasco County. The levels are still medium to low, but experts are continuing to test the area to track the spread. 

Experts say that in addition to the new red tide spots found in Pasco, elevated levels can still be found in Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pinellas counties, with higher levels in the northern parts of the county. 

They’re noticing discolored water, foul odors in some areas, and, in Pinellas County, dead fish have been spotted up and down the shore. Crews have been working hard to clean up the beach, removing tons of red tide debris. 

READ: What is Florida's red tide, and where does it come from?

Scientists say they’re still looking into the role that the Piney Point spill has had on the blooms. While they said they are unable to pin everything on the spill, the 215 million gallons of nutrient-rich wastewater that spilled into the bay likely did not help the situation. They’re working to reverse the effects. 

Experts say there have been improvements in water conditions in some areas, however, they plan to continue testing and monitoring the coastal area for changes. 

Red tide is dangerous to the environment and can be dangerous to humans too, as it’s not a good idea to swim or breathe in the air near a red tide area. 

Several websites are available for beachgoers to check before heading out to make sure their destination is away from any red tide hotspots: Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System, Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, and Pinellas County's Red Tide Monitoring Results.