Special Reports

False alarm on report of oil at Anna Maria

ANNA MARIA ISLAND — The U.S. Coast Guard was called out by beachgoers at the beach Tuesday afternoon after about a 20 feet area of murky brown water hung near the shore line near the intersection of Sea Grape Lane and North Shore Drive.

A coast guard pollution investigator inspected the water and took a few samples as well as several pictures.

“It’s most likely algae bloom,” said Petty Officer Third Class John C. Schleicher as he unpacked gloves and sample cups from a van. “We get calls all the time for different mystery spills. We check it out just to be sure.”

The matter in the water turned out to be organic, said spokeswoman Petty Officer First Class Mariana O’Leary.

However, while the Coast Guard normally inspects reports of pollution or spills, those calls have increased since the BP oil spill. More people have a heightened awareness and concern, O’Leary said.

“We’re checking everything out,” she said.

To report oil spills or water pollution at the beach, call the National Response Center at (800) 424-8802.

— Beth Burger, Herald Staff