STUART, Fla. - The toxic Treasure Coast waters are having a big impact on business. The green algae is driving some - but not all - businesses into 'the red'. People are heeding the warnings to stay away from the impacted waterways. Where are they cooling off instead?
If it is cool and clean - jump right in. That is the mentality of so many people on the Treasure Coast these days.
"Everybody's afraid of the water," said Fort Pierce resident Theresa Lugo, who is referring to the toxic algae-ridden water that is plaguing some Treasure Coast swimming spots in recent weeks.
To cool off away from the toxic water, Lugo took her family to Martin County's Sailfish Splash Water Park. "This place is crowded. It's usually like this on the weekend," said Lugo. "But not on a Monday."
Many water park visitors were expressing concern about how too many waterways remain under a health advisory because of high bacteria levels.
"It is the big story these days," said Craig Jon Anderson, a manager at Martin County Parks & Recreation. He says that some people may be looking to take a dip in water that they know is 'quality-controlled'. "They're glad that the water is available to them."
Lugo says she and her family will be back at the water park all week to find relief from the heat and from what she calls a toxic 'tragedy' on the Treasure Coast. "My fear is them," she said of the young members of her family. "This is their future. This is their home. This is their life."
Managers at Sailfish Splash say they were present at a recent toxic algae protest and handed out coupons for people to come to the park.