~Toxins detected in algae sample near Canal Point Park in Palm Beach County~
PAHOKEE — The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Health are reminding residents and visitors to be mindful during summertime recreational activities as the season’s high temperatures, abundant sunlight and frequent rainstorms annually increase the presence of algal blooms in certain Florida waterbodies.
Since a bloom was first identified on Lake Okeechobee, DEP has coordinated with the South Florida Water Management District to perform frequent surveillance and sampling. While most of these results have been non-detect or very low levels of toxins, DEP received results of one sample with elevated levels of toxins (microcystin) near Canal Point Park in northwest Palm Beach County on the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee on Aug. 4. It is recommended that you avoid swimming and fishing in this area. The area will be resampled Monday, Aug. 7, and results will continue to be posted online. At this time, the Army Corps of Engineers is not planning any Lake Okeechobee discharges.
DEP and Florida’s water management districts frequently monitor Florida’s water quality and routinely collect algal bloom samples as soon as they are observed to identify algal type and test toxin levels. In addition, staff are deployed to take additional samples in response to reported blooms – whether from a citizen, other response team agencies or other sources. To keep residents and visitors informed of the latest algal bloom monitoring results and activities, DEP has a website where it posts the dates and locations of samples collected. Test results are added as they become available. Persistent blooms are routinely monitored and retested.
Individuals should avoid contact with algae and can report algal blooms using DEP’s toll-free hotline (855-305-3903) and online at (www.reportalgalbloom.com).
About the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s principal environmental agency, created to protect, conserve and manage Florida’s environment and natural resources. The department enforces federal and state environmental laws, protects Florida’s air and water quality, cleans up pollution, regulates solid waste management, promotes pollution prevention and acquires environmentally sensitive lands for preservation. The agency also maintains a statewide system of parks, trails and aquatic preserves.
Visit the department’s website at www.dep.state.fl.us.