Public Announcement - Blue Green Algae

June 28, 2016

Zoie Burgess


The Town of Lake Clarke Shores reminds individuals to avoid exposure to algal blooms that may be found in our lakes and canals.

Blue-green algae are a group of organisms that can live in freshwater, salt-water or in mixed "brackish" water and may commonly be referred to as pond scum. They also are referred to as cyanobacteria. Most blue-green algae do not produce chemicals harmful to humans or animals, however, some types make natural substances called cyanotoxins.  An algae bloom may appear green, red, purple, or rust-colored, sometimes resembling spilled paint. A bloom may be found on the water surface, below the surface, or mixed throughout the water column.

Health risks associated with cyanobacteria occur when people or animals are exposed to toxins that are sometimes produced by certain kinds of these organisms. Exposure can happen through unintentionally swallowing lake water, breathing water spray or coming into direct contact with the blooms. At high levels, these can affect the gastrointestinal tract, liver, nervous system, and skin. It is recommended that people avoid contact with all algal blooms. Children and pets are especially vulnerable, so keeping them away from the water during a bloom is especially important.  Boiling water does not remove or destroy these toxins.

It is recommended that people refrain from recreational water uses that could result in ingestion of and/or skin exposure to algal blooms in the water.  It is also recommended that fish caught in or near a bloom not be consumed.  Be especially cautious of water that appears greenish or off-color, the water smells different or there are dead or distressed animal and aquatic life present. 

The South Florida Water Management District and the Department of Environmental Protection are overseeing sampling and the monitoring process. The state’s bloom response team encourages residents to report algal blooms so that they can respond quickly and effectively.

• To report a bloom contact DEP’s Kalina Warren at 407-897-4177.
• To report human illness or for information on health advisories, contact our local health department at 561-840-4500.
• To report a fish kill, contact FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline at 800-636-0511.

The Town will continue to keep you updated as additional information becomes available. 

Florida Department of Health
Florida Department of Environmental Protection