Water-Related News

Act now to prevent flooding

It's Never Too Early to Plan for Flooding

Flooding is the most costly and repetitive natural disaster affecting Hillsborough County. While residents are typically affected by inland flooding near lakes and in areas with low-lying elevations, flooding along rivers and coastal tidal surge are not uncommon. Flooding can occur anytime and anywhere when heavy or steady rain occurs.

Here are six ways to prepare your property for floods:

  1. Know your flood hazard by obtaining or reviewing the flood map for your area.
  2. Consider flood insurance to help protect you from the financial devastation caused by floods. Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.
  3. Stay safe by preparing a disaster response plan for your family and signing up for emergency alerts.
  4. Protect your property by floodproofing or retrofitting to reduce common flood damage.
  5. Build responsibly by always contacting your local building office to obtain required permits prior to doing any type of building or land alterations.
  6. Help protect natural floodplains by reporting illegal dumping or illegal land clearing.

Business owners along Kennedy Blvd. fed up with continuous flooding

TAMPA — As any person who lives in Tampa Bay knows, when it rains, it pours. And if you live near Kennedy Blvd, it often floods.

Business owners along the major road are fed up with the flooding, and they want it fixed.

“Every time there’s a little rain, we have to pray that we don’t get flooded,” said Giancarlo Giusti, the owner of Modulo, a design studio at the corner of Rome Ave. and North A St. in Tampa.

Giusti has got hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment inside his warehouse.

“Welding machines, laser colors, water jets, so every time it rains a little bit, for two hours, three hours, we get the water up to four inches inside the space here and we feel like we’re gonna lose our business,” said Giusti.

FWC funds grant to study airborne red tide toxins

DAVIE — Two University of Florida scientists are the recipients of a $200,000 grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They will use that money over the next 10 months to develop the methodology leading to a device that detects and measures the amount of toxins in the air from red tides.

Red tide events are a type of harmful algal bloom (HABs) caused by the species Karenia brevis that produces poisons dubbed brevetoxins. These red tide occurrences are progressively impacting the health of humans, marine life, and other wildlife. Research also shows that the frequency of red tide occurrences imposes economic consequences on a variety of markets and industries.

When these brevetoxins begin to mix in the air in an aerosolized form, they cause a range of harmful health symptoms including breathing difficulties, chest pain, nausea, skin and eye irritation when they are present in or near the waters. These brevetoxins can kill fish, shellfish, and marine mammals as well.

UCF Researchers Developing Models to Predict Storm Surges

In a study published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, researchers developed models to predict extreme changes in sea level by linking storm surges to large-scale climate variability that is related to changes in atmospheric pressure and the sea surface temperature, such as El Niño.

El Niño is a periodic warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean between Asia and South America that can affect weather around the globe.

UF/IFAS wants to hear from those impacted by the red tide of 2017-2019

GAINESVILLE – University of Florida researchers want to hear from marine businesses impacted by the 2018 red tide event that occurred between October of 2017 and January of 2019.

Respondents will have until Sept. 25 to complete the appropriate online questionnaire.

“We will run the surveys statewide with an initial focus of our analyses in Southwest Florida and then a longer, more detailed look at statewide results,” said Christa Court, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food and resource economics and Florida Sea Grant affiliate faculty member, who is working on the survey with Andrew Ropicki, another UF/IFAS assistant professor of food and resource economics and Florida Sea Grant marine economics specialist.

Called the “Assessment of the Impacts of Florida’s 2018 Red Tide Event,” the survey focuses on the state’s marine industries, Court said.

“Though our initial focus is on Southwest Florida, we recognize there could have been impacts to other regions of Florida, as recreational activity of both tourists and local residents moved to non-affected areas,” she said. “Media coverage and the simultaneous occurrence of a blue-green algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee also could have influenced opinions on which parts of the state were impacted.”

FDACS launches “Florida Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Program”

Last week, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) launched the Florida Wastewater Treatment Plant Energy Program, a $2 million grant program to upgrade publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants with energy-efficient technology.

This new grant initiative was developed by the FDACS Office of Energy based on the findings of their study entitled “Mapping the Energy Landscape of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants in the State of Florida.”

This recently completed study provides a baseline on energy efficiency and renewable energy measures and practices at water and wastewater treatment plants in Florida, and recommendations on how to reduce energy use and operating costs. The study found that Florida’s wastewater treatment plants could save annually 26,763,827 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 6,354 tons of carbon dioxide through energy efficiency improvements.

Discarded gloves and masks pose a threat to Tampa Bay waterways

Litter is already an issue, but now people are tossing used gloves and masks on the ground, too.

TAMPA — Masks are required in schools and businesses across Tampa Bay to stop the spread of COVID-19. Some people go even further to protect themselves, donning plastic gloves to avoid touching anything that may be contaminated.

Now, what's being used as personal protection from the coronavirus is threatening the health of our environment in Tampa Bay. There's been an increase in personal protective equipment pollution, with used gloves and masks scattered in parking lots and dropped in the streets.

"Walking around, it doesn't take much time to see a discarded glove or mask," said Joe Whalen, Communication and Outreach at the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. Whalen says all of this PPE litter is detrimental to the health of Tampa's waterways.

"A lot of these pieces of equipment, depending on what they're made of may contain plastic and that contributes to a growing microplastics issue," said Whalen. Microplastics are already an issue in Tampa Bay. The harm is that microplastics have a negative effect on wildlife and native flora. Those negative effects can travel up the marine food web, in turn affecting humans.