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Warning Signs Removed; Water Quality Testing Continues

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (January 19, 2017) – Following recent tests on water in and around Coffee Pot Bayou which have come back within normal ranges, Public Works crews have removed the warning signs around the shoreline. The warning signs had been recently 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,” stated 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 have been sent to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) Wildlife Lab in Gainesville for necropsy. Samples taken during necropsy will be sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) in Georgia for further testing and additional samples will be sent to FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg to be tested for algal toxins. Busch Gardens is sending blood, fecal, and tissue samples to the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to be tested for algal toxins. Toxin analysis to determine if this is potentially related to red tide will be available 2-3 days after samples are received. Results from samples submitted to SCWDS will take longer, possibly weeks.

Today, biological testing experts from Arcadis are taking further samples for their independent testing.

“There is no pre-conceived 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 says 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.

For updates, visit or follow us @StPetePW.

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