Starting Wednesday, Florida will go over its water quality standards. The state currently has no criteria when it comes to measuring the cyanotoxins in our waterways, toxins linked to blue-green algae
Clean water activists will be requesting that the state create standards to measure those toxins, but this isn’t anything new. The state reviews its water quality standards every three years, and this week it will be doing just that. The Environmental Protection Agency already issued a draft of this proposal back in 2016 that water experts like the Calusa Waterkeeper think are protective enough—the state did nothing with it.
“You need to emphasize it’s not just about cleaning up pollution,” said Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani. “It’s also providing some public health protection through these new standards.”
So how will this benefit you? If we have a baseline for the toxins, this will then allow the state to decide when to alter the releases from Lake O. It will also allow our local health departments to issues alerts more easily. Those alerts are what we have seen recently, making sure you stay out of the water.
Jason Totoiu, a water expert from the Center for Biological Diversity, says he is frustrated with how the state is handling our water crisis.
“The state needs to do a lot better job in addressing the pollution before it even gets into our waters,” Totoiu said. “The reason why those were really protective standards… in part, they recognized that the hazards of cyanotoxins aren’t just limited to ingestion. So say if you are swimming: You can be exposed to cyanotoxins through the air, the skin, through ingestion and those most-protective criteria in 2016 accounted for that.”