Blue-green algae bloom alerts issued for these Central Florida lakes

Lake Speer is the latest lake to have blue-green algae

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health has issued warnings in multiple Central Florida counties about harmful algae toxins found in different bodies of water.

This story was last updated on Sept. 16 with the latest health alerts for blue-green algae.

Lake County

  • The Florida Health Department in Lake County issued a health alert on Sept. 13 for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins found in Sawgrass Lake. This is based on a water sample taken on Sept. 8.

Orange County

  • Health officials in Orange County issued a caution for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins found in Lake Mann on Sept. 13, based on a water sample taken on Sept. 6.
  • Health officials in Orange County issued a caution on Sept. 13 for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins found in Lake Estelle based on a water sample taken on Sept. 6.
  • The Florida Health Department in Orange County issued a health caution on Aug. 17 for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins found in Lake Maitland. This is based on a water sample taken on Aug. 10.
  • Health officials in Orange County issued an alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins found in Lake Speer on Sept. 13, based on a water sample taken on Aug. 31.
  • The Florida Health Department in Orange County issued a health caution for Lake Roger, near Lake Christie Drive, on Aug. 24 based on a water sample detecting the presence of blue-green algae taken on Aug. 22.

Osceola County

  • The Florida Health Department in Osceola County issued a blue-green algae alert for Lake Marian on Sept. 16 based on a water sample taken on Sept. 12.
  • Health officials in Osceola County issued a blue-green algae alert for Fish Lake near Sexton Park on Sept. 16 based on a water sample taken on Sept. 12.

Seminole County

  • Health officials in Seminole County extended a health alert for Lake Griffin in Casselberry based on a water sample taken Aug. 4 showing the presence of blue-green algal toxins. The initial water sample indicating blue-green algae was taken July 7. The alert is set to expire on Sept. 3.
  • The Florida Health Department in Seminole County issued a health alert for Lake Dot in Sanford based on a water sample taken Aug. 4 showing the presence of blue-green algal toxins. The alert is set to expire on Sept. 3.
  • Health officials in Seminole County extended a health alert for Lake Jesup based on a water sample taken Aug. 24 indicating the presence of blue-green algal toxins. The alert was extended until Sept. 23.

Volusia County

  • Health officials in Volusia County issued an alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Lake George on Aug. 12. This was based on a water sample collected on Aug. 8.

What is blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria that is common in Florida’s freshwater environments. A bloom occurs when rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors, according to the Florida Department of Health. According to health officials, sunny days, warm water temperatures, still water conditions and excess nutrients can all contribute to blooms.

Is it harmful?

It can be, to human health and ecosystems, including fish and other aquatic animals, according to the health department.

The public should exercise caution in and around areas where bacteria are reported.

For additional information on potential health effects of algal blooms, visit floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins.

What precautions should I take?

Residents and visitors are advised to avoid swimming, wading, using a watercraft or boating where there is visible algae bloom. Health officials say people who make contact with algae or discolored, smelly water should wash one’s skin and clothing with soap and water. Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms, officials said. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.

Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe, according to the health department. Fish fillets should be rinsed with tap or bottled water, guts should be thrown out and the fish should be thoroughly cooked. Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

People should also keep pets away from the area as algae blooms are not safe for animals.

People can report symptoms from exposure to a harmful algal bloom or any aquatic toxin to the Florida Poison Information Center at call 1-800-222-1222. All other questions regarding concerns about blue-green algae blooms should be directed to residents’ respective county health departments.