Red Tide is no laughing matter if you live in Florida and want to head to the beach. But when you have algae bloom in a reservoir feeding on the Hillsborough River, seen in the photo above, you might find the Tap Water you drink may be a little foul as it comes out of the faucet.

Something foul

Since the beginning of April, 80 customers have complained that the tap water smell and taste. City of Tampa spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said the tap water was safe to drink in a public statement to Tampa Bay Times.

The number of recorded complaints was unusually high so the city decided to take initiative and do something about it and have begun treating the algae bloom in the reservoir and should be under control this week.

Recent tests show the algae are going down, but it is still a little high, regular levels of algae should be recorded in a few days.

Tampa uses a water system to provide 80 gallons of tap water to its consumers with the water coming from a local dam in Sulphur Springs that can contain 1.2 billion gallons in a span of 1,300 acres.

Brad Baird is the city administrator for the public works and utility services said in a statement through Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s office that algae blooms happen every year when there is no rain or water flowing over the dam and the humidity and temperature increase into more summer-like patterns. They use a spray that creates an ozonation process that kills the algae present and underneath so that it does not bloom again.

Algae blooms

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, algae blooms are a form of cyanobacteria. They are common in the water and are invisible to the naked eye unless the population grows increasingly large that you could see red or greenish color algae at the top of the water's surface.

Algae, like most plants, take in carbon dioxide and create oxygen.

However, if there are a large number of algae present in the water they release a chemical called cyanotoxin that can kill marine life and is harmful to humans and other animals. It is what causes the foul smelling odors like how sulfur in nature smells like rotten eggs.

Algae blooms typically occur in the summer time when the water is warm, but can occur any time of the year says the website for the U.S.

Geological Survey. In Florida, most algae blooms occur offshore in the Gulf of Mexico known as red tide and are harmful to marine life. Many beaches are often littered with dead fish or baby sharks that were caught in the bloom.

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