What the Muck?

I noticed today, south of the last condo, that the water looks red, smells funny and is foamy. No one seems to be taking credit, nor is their any warnings. I would sure like to know what happened.

People from TRNERR didn't know the cause, and I can't believe no one is looking into the fact that our ocean looks and smells funny...

I have to wonder how safe is this?
Ed Kravitz August 05, 2013 at 09:57 AM
I'm not a scientist but, without seeing it or lab testing it this is what I think..... There is likely detergent in the water which might help create enough surface tension for the bubbles. Since there is not turbulent heavy flow in the stream or actual white-water...something else must be generating the gas in the bubbles. My guess is that it is anerobic bacteria feeding on the organic material....most likely E-Coli and Hankey Cousins from upstream across the border. The Red color.....It's not unusual to have red tide or red algae in waters that have high nitrogen content. Feces has very high nitrogen content as does commercial fertilizer. Whatever the muck is....people probably should stay out of it because, it would find your eye, nose, ears, mouth and intestinal tract a much better host on which to grow and thrive. What happens in the surf when this stuff becomes airborne? It's probably time for someone besides SWIA and Visitors Center being the only one's who know water quality? It could likely be a serious public health hazard? And is any radio activity leaking from those pits the opened up over at OLF or did it already leach out in the Estuary over the years? What is the status of the radio active material that stopped the remediation project at OLF?
Dennis Lepak August 05, 2013 at 11:01 AM
We walked the beach from Palm to the southern end of Seacoast yesterday. We also went in the water in the afternoon. I didn't think the water looked red or was foaming more than usual. To us, it looked brown and full of silt (sand). There seemed to be new sand bars forming near shore. Swimmers were a hundred feet off shore with the water below their knees. We have often seen red tide and this did not look like that to us. We've walked the beach virtually every day since May and it definitely had a different color yesterday. Lifeguards we talked to had no explanation for the different appearance. This morning the color looks normal. I'm not a scientist either but I feel my observation is more accurate than someone who didn't actually see the water.
Ed Kravitz August 05, 2013 at 11:14 AM
Your observations and constructive dialogue are appreciated.
Hazel F. Bailey August 05, 2013 at 12:39 PM
My vote is for Red Tide....but it wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong. Oh yeah, I've been on this beach since age 12 (seems like a hundred years ago!).
Serge Dedina August 05, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Hazel is correct-most likely this is red tide. It has been worse in the past couple of days. Seeing red tide in August is pretty unusual. We had a stretch of bad weather (cold wind) which resulted in a lot of upwelling and could have created the conditions for the red tide. Our red tide might be influenced by the continued outflow of sewage discharged at Pta. Banderas, six miles south of the border (up to 30MGD) in addition to border discharge pipe three miles offshore and possibly Pt. Loma (but that is unlikely). Red tide can in some people cause a skin rash and possibly breathing problems--but is some sort of allergic reaction. But we've seen red tide recently off of the coast of northern Baja too (south of Rosarito beach).
Lenora Porcella August 06, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Well... for those who care... the health department tells me, ..."It looks like our water sample is below State health standards... " and the final report won't be available until tomorrow. I think the brown foam is more than red tide and I'd keep my kids out of the water until health department says things are OK. FWIW, the water seems to get better, closer to Mexico. The brown foam is the worst, just south of Seacoast.
Jon Hall August 08, 2013 at 10:32 AM
Be nice Lenora --- the local experts don't need facts getting in the way ...
Pat P August 11, 2013 at 07:45 PM
It's Red Tide, happens all the time. There was an article on the IB Patch about it just the other day.


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