LAKE OKEECHOBEE -- Low levels of toxins were detected in algal blooms on Lake Okeechobee and connecting waterways this week.
On July 7 and July 8, South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) staff collected samples at Lake Okeechobee at the following stations. Cyanotoxin results are included in parentheses following each station name:
CLV10A 7.3 ppb (parts per billion);
LZ40 (5.3 ppb);
PALMOUT1 (2.3 ppb);
PALMOUT2 (trace, 0.48 ppb);
PALMOUT3 (1.8 ppb);
LZ30 (trace, 0.79 ppb);
LZ25A (trace, 0.25 ppb);
L007 (trace, 0.26 ppb);
L006 (trace, 0.30 ppb);
and CULV10A (pending).
Microcystis aeruginosa was the dominant taxon in all of the samples with microcystin levels greater than 1 ppb.
The World Health Organization considers levels above 1 ppb unsafe for drinking water, and levels above 8 ppb to be unsafe for human recreational contact (such as swimming).
On July 7, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) staff collected samples at the C-43 Canal – S77 Structure (upstream) and C-43 Canal – S79 (upstream). The S77 structure is the Julian Keen Jr. Lock at Moore Haven. The S-79 is the Franklin Lock on the Caloosahatchee River.
The S-77 Structure (upstream) sample was dominated by Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii and no cyanotoxins were detected.
The S-79 (upstream) sample was dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had no cyanotoxins detected.
On July 8, DEP staff collected samples at: Caloosahatchee River – South Olga Drive;
Lake Okeechobee – S-308C (lakeside); and,
C-44 Canal – S308C (canal side); Results are still pending.
THe S-308 structure is the Port Mayaca Lock, where Lake Okeechobee connects with the C-44 canal, also known as the St. Lucie canal.
On July 11, SFWMD staff collected a sample at C44 Canal – Timer Powers Park. The sample was dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had a trace level (0.55 ppb) of microcystins detected.
On July 6, SFWMD staff collected a sample at Lake Okeechobee – Pahokee Marina Boat Ramp. The sample had no dominant algal taxon and a trace level (0.32 ppb) of microcystins was detected.
On July 6 DEP staff collected samples at: Lake Okeechobee – S308C (lakeside) and C44 Canal – S308C (canalside). The Lake Okeechobee – S308C (lakeside) and C44 Canal – S308C (canalside) samples had no dominant algal taxon and had trace levels of microcystins detected (0.71 ppb and 0.41 ppb, respectively).
Florida Department of Environmental Protection warns: Different types of blue-green algal bloom species can look different and have different impacts. However, regardless of species, many types of blue-green algae can produce toxins that can make you or your pets sick if swallowed or possibly cause skin and/or eye irritation due to contact. Florida Department of Environmental Regulatoin advises staying out of water where algae is visibly present as specks or mats or where water is discolored pea-green, blue-green or brownish-red. Additionally, pets or livestock should not come into contact with the algal bloom-impacted water, or the algal bloom material or fish on the shoreline.