LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Toxic blue-green algae has been detected in Dead River in Lake County and Lake Howell in Seminole County, according to officials from the Florida Department of Health.
The harmful algae were found in a sample taken from the residential canal of Dead River south of U.S. 441 on June 9, according to the notice.
“This usually happens [in the] late summer and fall. Right now, that’s why we’re seeing these algal blooms develop. It largely happens because the water is pretty stagnant in those areas,” Seminole County Environmental Manager Raymond Roe said.
Additionally, another bloom was detected during a sample taken from Lake Howell in Seminole County on June 9.
Health departments in both counties issued health alerts for the toxic algae blooms.
“The longer the algal bloom stays there, the more opportunity there is for toxins to develop,” Roe said.
The public should avoid being near the water including swimming, wading or boating when the bloom is active.
Blue-green algae is a type of bacteria that occurs when the rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of cells that discolor the water and often produce floating mats of algae that can be thick like guacamole and give off an unpleasant smell.
The blooms can be harmful to humans, fish and other ecosystems.
“It’s easier just to leave it alone and let it naturally disperse on its own,” Roe said.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection collects samples to detect blue-green algae.
To report a suspected bloom, call the toll-free DEP hotline at 855-305-3903 or report online.