Department of Health warns of blue-green algae in Alva canal

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Blue-green algae
Calusa Waterkeeper blue-green algae. (CREDIT: Calusa Waterkeeper)

If you live on Sebastian Court along the canal in Alva, the Florida Department of Health in Lee County wants you to remain cautious. A blue-green algae bloom has been spotted there.

The blue-green algae is present in the Caloosahatchee River, C43 canal — S79 upstream, according to the department of health.

This type of algae has the potential to produce toxins.

Location of blue-green algae bloom.
Location of blue-green algae bloom.

Water sample testing is currently underway in the area, but the DOH is asking people to be cautious, even if the presence of toxins has not yet been confirmed.

The DOH recommends you do not drink, swim, use watercraft or come into contact with waters where there is a visible bloom. You also should not cook or clean with it.

Boiling affected water does not decontaminate it.

If you do come in contact with contaminated water, you should wash your skin and clothes with soap and water.

Pets and livestock should also be kept away from impacted water.

What is blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria common in Florida’s freshwater environments. According to the Lee County Department of Health, blooms occur when there is a rapid growth of algae.

This growth can lead to an accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors.

These algae blooms appear as scum or foam on the surface of the water and can vary in color.

The toxins produced by the algae can affect ecosystems, including fish and other aquatic life.

Blooms can be reported to DEP online or by calling toll-free at 1-855-305-3903.

Current information on water quality status and public health notifications for harmful algae blooms is available at Protecting Florida Together.

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