LAKE OKEECHOBEE – An algae bloom at Canal Point on Lake Okeechobee tested at 180 parts per billion (ppb) microcystin, according to information shared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on July 1.
In the weekly USACE media briefing, Lt. Col. Todd Polk said samples collected by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) on June 27 of a visible surface bloom at the Canal Point water control structure tested at 180 ppb microcystin. According to the FDEP, Microcystis aeruginosa was dominant in the sample.
The World Health Organization (WHO) considers microcystin toxin levels below 1 ppb to be safe for drinking water. Levels below 8 ppb are considered safe for human recreation contact (swimming).
Alexandra Kuchta of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, said the bloom has been treated with algaecide. FDEP and SFWMD are monitoring the bloom to determine if additional treatment will be required.
Elsewhere on Lake Okeechobee, Polk said this week’s tests found either no toxins or barely detectable levels, below the level safe for drinking water.
USACE, SFWMD and FDEP regularly sample dozens of sites on Lake O during the summer, when the heat makes algal blooms more common. FDEP also samples areas where algal blooms are reported.
To report a bloom, call the toll-free hotline at 855-305-3903.
According to the Florida Department of Health, fish tested from water with blue-green algae show that cyanotoxins don’t accumulate much in the edible parts—muscle or fillet—of fish, but can in other organs. FDOH advises to rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water. Throw out guts. Cook fish well.