Toxic Algae in Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee, Fl (treasurecoast.com)- Samples of blue-green algae in Lake Okeechobee have now tested at levels that the EPA considers unsafe for swimming. In a sample collected June 5th near the center of the lake, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said test results measured the toxin Microcystin at 17.6 parts per billion. That’s more than double what the EPA considers harmful to swim in. A sample collected at the same time along Lake Okeechobee’s coast in Martin County came back with Microcystin toxin levels at just 1.48 parts per billion.
“As a precaution, I’d say don’t eat any fish from anywhere in the lake right now,” said Paul Gray, an Audubon biologist who’s been studying Lake O for 30 years. “Even if you don’t see algae in the water, there can still be toxins in the water because when the algae dies, the toxins remain.”
Currently, there are no releases from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie Estuary.
The latest information from the Army Corps of Engineers shows the lake level at 10.94 feet on June 9th.
The state’s blue-green Algae task force will meet for the first time this week.