EPA helping to create swim advisories for toxic algae

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Credit: WINK News.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to make changes, so you know what you’re diving into before you ever leave shore, keeping you safe from toxic blue-green algae.

The rule changes affect all of Southwest Florida wherever we like to enjoy water. People who live and work near Venetian Bay in Park Shore want to know what is in the water.

The EPA is recommending certain criteria to help state and local governments come up with swimming advisories to protect us in public.

“Our corner here is kind of like the natural catch-all for everything that comes into the bay,” said Doug Gustason.

Gustason said algae skims near Venetian Bay every now and then.

“It’s just a little green that’s close to shore, but it’s not like you can walk on it,” Gustason said. “It’s not foamy or anything else like that. It’s just a green coloration.”

The EPA comes up with recommendations based of the latest science on how these toxins affect human and animal health.

“We need to be testing for everything that’s in our water because this is our livelihood,” Gustason said.

The EPA said swimming or doing other recreational activates in contaminated water can make people sick.

“They need to test it, so we know,” Lynne Vela said in Naples. “I live on the water. I really didn’t see it here I don’t want it here.”

The EPA is suggesting testing over 10-day periods throughout a busy season. If test results come back high more than three times and that pattern reoccurs in more than a year, it’s telling officials the water quality has been or is degrading.

“Here in Naples, water is number one for tourism and for residents,” Pat Kennedy said.

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