After a month of monitoring since the Cover Story in our May edition, experts from the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science declared at a press conference on May 24th that the release of nutrient-laden wastewater from the Piney Point stack has largely dispersed. Their research shows that the concentration of nutrients in the waters near the release around Port Manatee have returned to nutrient levels considered more typical for the area.
Bob Weisberg, a physical oceanography professor at USF, remarked that you can see it all over the place, but the concentration of nutrients has diminished by a factor of at least 100. He went on to say that the local red tide levels, which remain low, cannot be attributed to the release from Piney Point. That’s because the local levels of red tide have steadily made their way here from the south down by Charlotte Harbor.
Despite the apparent dispersion of the effluent, the scientists remain concerned about the long-term effects of the polluted release on the ecosystem and are analyzing the heavy metals and nutrients found in sediment and fish samples. Unfortunately, this process will take months to process and reach a definitive conclusion.
Caption: Aerial View of Piney Point