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Piney Point dumping causes algae bloom in Bishop Harbor

A combination of warmer weather, and nutrients in treated wastewater from the old Piney Point phosphate plant have triggered a macro algae bloom in Bishop Harbor at the southeast end of Tampa Bay.

Manatee County - A combination of warmer weather, and nutrients in treated wastewater from the old Piney Point phosphate plant have triggered a macro algae bloom in Bishop Harbor at the southeast end of Tampa Bay.The leafy green vegetation is growing up from the bottom and is clearly visible on the north side of Bishop Harbor. Rob Brown with the Manatee County Environmental Management Department said it’s a type of algae called ulva. Brown said it’s not harmful to humans, but as the algae dies, it could cause fish kills in some areas. And he said there’s no telling how far the bloom will spread.“That’s our concern, is that it will get out into lower Tampa Bay and spread farther throughout the bay,” Brown said.In response to the algae bloom, the state Department of Environmental protection is lowering nitrogen levels into Bishop Harbor by one-third, from 300 pounds per day, to 200 pounds per day.But the DEP says dumping must continue into Bishop Harbor to close wastewater ponds at Piney Point for good.