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St. Pete removes warning signs, continues to test water

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

After recent tests on water in and around Coffee Pot Bayou came back normal, crews from St. Petersburg’s public works department have removed the warning signs from around the shoreline.

The warning signs had been placed around Coffee Pot Bayou as tests were being conducted following the discovery of numerous sick and dying brown pelicans.

“The water quality is not in question in Coffee Pot Bayou,” said John Palenchar, interim water resources director. “And we are working with all concerned to try and find out what made the birds sick.”

A total of 17 pelicans were sent to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Wildlife Lab in Gainesville for necropsy. Samples taken during necropsy will go to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Georgia for further testing. FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg will receive additional samples for testing for algal toxins.

Busch Gardens is sending blood, fecal, and tissue samples to the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute for testing for algal toxins.

Toxin analysis will help determine if the pelican deaths are is potentially related to red tide. Results are expected to be available two to three days after the labs receive samples. Results from samples submitted to SCWDS will take longer, possibly weeks.

Biological testing experts from Arcadis, a consultant the city hired, are taking further samples today for independent testing.

“There is no preconceived notion as to what may be going on out here,” said Scott Lehman, Arcadis senior asset consultant. “Our intent is to be that third party review to see if we find anything independent of what the city is finding.”

So far, Palenchar said, the city has found that the water quality is “well within the parameters for recreational usage.”

The test results from the independent consultant Arcadis will likely be ready by early next week.

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