Okeechobee Over Limits For Microcystin

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lg.php?bannerid=13290&campaignid=9090&zoneid=1414&loc=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pollutiononline In: Okeechobee Over Limits For Microcystin | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe Riverwww.pollutiononline.com
Pollution Online reports the following for us to consider:
815 parts per billion of the toxin microcystin are now in Lake O.
World Health Organization puts the limit a 10 per billion
Last year the St. Lucie River reached 33,000 parts per billion
This toxin is dangerous to human health.  It is deadly to marine life and aquatic animals.   It can be stopped, cured and prevented.  It comes mostly from fertilizers and pesticides from farms, septic tanks, golf courses, and urban lawns.  It has been going on for decades but we can stop it now.  The Southwest Florida Water Management District can stop it.  Gov. Scott and our legislators can stop it.  The Florida Department of Environmental Protection can stop it.  So can the counties surrounding the lake, and so can the municipalities whose water drains into the lake.  It is a matter of money and will.  It is up to us to decide when we want to make the economic sacrifice to stop it.  Let us not hear complaints about our ruined lake and estuaries from those who can stop it.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-


News Feature | August 17, 2017

 Major Algal Bloom Has Florida Worried
Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome

algae reg new

Florida’s largest freshwater lake is thick with toxic algae, fueling concerns that it will spread to other water bodies and sparking a debate over whether decisions by water managers helped encourage the growth of this bloom.

Scientists confirmed this month that the bloom is toxic.

“A sample taken Aug. 1 on the lake shore near the Canal Point community in Palm Beach County contained the toxin microcystin at a level of 815 parts per billion. The World Health Organization considers levels more than 10 parts per billion to be hazardous in recreational contact. By comparison, during the 2016 algae bloom in the St. Lucie River, microcystin levels reached 33,000 parts per billion at Central Marine marina in northern Stuart,” TCPalm reported.

Fears are running high because of the area’s previous experiences with algae. “Last summer, an algae bloom that started on Lake Okeechobee spread through lake water draining to the east coast — fueling a toxic, green ooze that fouled waters near Stuart,” the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Local water management practices may have contributed to the problem.

“It emerged after state officials from June 24 to July 5 pumped more than 9 billion gallons of potentially polluted water into the lake to lessen South Florida flooding threats,” the report said. “That water carried fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants that washed off farms and urban areas into the lake, which already collects pollution draining from Central Florida.”

Water managers dispute the role pumping played in encouraging the growth of the algal bloom.

“The South Florida Water Management District disputes that emergency pumping to help reduce flooding risks south of the lake is to blame for the algae bloom. More water and pollution drains into the lake from the north than during the limited emergency pumping this summer, according to the district,” TCPalm reported.

Paul Gray, and Audubon Florida scientist, explained one take on what unfolded.

“We just put a whole bunch of nutrient-rich water into the lake,” he said. “That stuff is feeding the algae bloom.”

Polluted inflows into the lake likely helped stimulate the growth of algae.

“The water from the St. Lucie Canal picks up algae-feeding phosphorus, nitrogen and other pollutants from golf courses, farms and residential areas before draining into Lake Okeechobee. Tests of the canal water this month showed as much as two times the normal amount of phosphorus in the canal’s water,” the Associated Press reported, citing the South Florida Water Management District.

To read more about reducing toxic algae visit Water Online’s Nutrient Removal Solutions Center.

Image credit: “Ohio Algae,” Ben Townsend © 2007, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

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