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Sunday, Sep 24, 2017
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That funky smell in Old Tampa Bay is a confirmed algae bloom

Smell something funky near Safety Harbor?

Pinellas County Environmental Management says it's probably because of the algae bloom in Old Tampa Bay that's stretching from Safety Harbor to the south end of the Bayside Bridge.

The bloom was first visible to officials last week and confirmed this week with testing after reports of discolored water and a pungent odor.

The bloom — Pyrodinium bahamense — isn't uncommon during the summer months in Old Tampa Bay. While this bloom has a reddish-brown tint, it's not the organism known as Florida Red Tide. Still, residents may notice the stench and fish kill.

Fish die because the blooms decrease the levels of dissolved oxygen in the water. Overnight or during cloudy weather, low sunlight makes the algae switch from producing oxygen to stealing it away from the fish. The fish can suffocate from the lower level of oxygen in the water.

If residents observe fish kills, they can call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish Kill Hotline at (800) 636-0511 or visit MyFWC.com/FishKill to report them.

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