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DEP Tests Confirm Toxins in Blue Green Algae in Cape Coral

NASA Earth Observatory


Tests on blue green algae at the Cape Coral Yacht Club came back with low levels of toxins that can contribute to environmental and public health problems. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection tested the algae earlier this week from two sites along the Caloosahatchee River. The other site, at the Alva Bridge, showed no toxins.

The Conservancy of southwest Florida’s Jennifer Hecker said the level was low at the Yacht Club but it was over the limit that would have triggered a health advisory in some states.

Our concern is that now that now that it is present we need to be having continuous monitoring and updates about that to make sure that the public is aware and can make informed decisions about whether or not to use the water in that area,” said Hecker.

“And then also to look at any other areas where blue green algae might be sighted and make sure that that’s being properly tested so we can know anywhere this toxin might be present.”

Hecker said she was not able to find a threshold for Florida at which the state would issue a health advisory. Other states’ levels widely vary on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

She said though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to decrease the flow of algae laden water from Lake Okeechobee this weekend, increasing water temperatures will still help what’s already here to grow.

If the water is especially dark or green algae is obvious she said to stay out of it, especially if you have cuts or low immunity.  Low levels of algae can cause respiratory irritation.