FWC testing Deerfield Beach for red tide, city officials report

DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Officials with the City of Deerfield Beach have confirmed testing is being conducted on its beach for the toxic algal bloom known as red tide.

The city took to Twitter to announce that Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tested the beach, Monday night. Test results are expected sometime on Wednesday.

Passers-by walking up and down the beach Monday night were disheartened to hear the news.

“Of course it is. It’s horrible,” said Patricia Pisticello.

“I thought this was on the West Coast, not the East Coast,” said Carl Pisticello.

The tweet posted by Deerfield Beach stated that if the tests show that red tide is present in the water, the city will close the fishing pier and put up red flags at the beach alerting swimmers to stay out of the water.

“We’ll be very sad because I just bought a condo here,” said Patricia. “That means I can’t use the ocean.”

FWC officials did not say whether or not testing is taking place in other Broward County beaches. As of Monday night, no beaches in the county have tested positive for red tide.

Monday night’s development comes days after multiple beaches in Palm Beach County were closed due to an airborne irritant.

“So I stopped here, and the police was clearing the park and the beach, warning people about the allergy and the red tide,” said a Palm Beach County beachgoer. “I took the shades off, and it immediately affected my eyes.”

FWC officials said they detected low to medium concentrations of naturally occurring red tide.

The organism releases an odorless toxin into the air that can cause respiratory irritation, including coughing, sneezing and an itchy throat. Officials have not yet determined how high of a concentration is currently in the water off Palm Beach County.

The Gulf Coast has been ravaged by the toxic algae for weeks, causing dead wildlife to wash ashore. FWC notes there have been 57 occurrences of red tide in the Gulf of Mexico since 1953. Eight of those events have made their way to the East Coast in the area of Palm Beach County.

As residents await the test results, those who spoke with 7News said beachgoers need to observe caution.

“Just gotta be careful, listen to what the people say on the news and do what they say,” said Carl. “If [the water is] not safe, don’t go into it.”

FWC plans to reopen some of the Palm Beach County beaches on Wednesday.

For more information on red tide and conditions around the state, visit FWC’s website.

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