Palm Beach County has received $500,000 from the state government for red tide clean up reimbursement. Now the county plans to disperse the money to municipalities to refund them for their own red tide-related expenses.
Related: Red tide: You can’t smell it, but here’s what to do if it irritates you
Municipalities have until Tuesday to submit invoices to the county detailing costs incurred, including picking up of dead fish and marine life. The county will then decide how to give out the grant money from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Outgoing Gov. Rick Scott in October announced the state was offering $3 million in grants to five southeast Florida counties for red tide cleanup costs. In addition to Palm Beach County, the other eligible counties were St. Lucie, Martin, Broward and Miami-Dade.
Palm Beach County officials upbeat as red tide numbers continue to dip
The first symptoms of red tide in Palm Beach County were felt by beach-goers at the end of September. By Oct. 1, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said water samples taken after beach-goers complained of scratchy throats, coughing and skin irritations tested positive for low- to medium-concentrations of red tide and the single-cell algae Karenia brevis that causes the toxic blooms.
While not to the extent of what was seen on Florida's Gulf coast, there were sightings of dead fish on Palm Beach County beaches. About 55 fish-kill reports were sent to FWC in October in Palm Beach County. More than 40 reports of dead fish in St. Lucie and Indian River counties were also filed.
None of the reports from the Treasure Coast or Palm Beach County included sharks, manatees or dolphins, as was seen on the Gulf coast over the summer.
Read: Red-tide confusion: County, cities back-and-forth on beach closings
While typical on the Gulf coast, this fall's red tide bloom was the first in Palm Beach County in more than a decade. It was uncharted territory for many, and officials jumped back-and-forth over closing and opening beaches. Some beach lifeguards said they were still feeling symptoms about two weeks after the red tide was first detected.
By November, most results from testing of waters in the county showed either no or very low concentrations of the Karenia brevis.
Staff writer Kimberly Miller contributed to this story.