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Health Department alerts: DuBois Park tests 'poor,' Lake Okeechobee has blue-green algae

Phil Foster 'moderate' and all others in Palm Beach County 'good'
Bacteria problems continue at Dubois Park
Posted at 5:08 PM, Jun 27, 2023

JUPITER, Fla. — DuBois Park in Jupiter tested "poor" after a recent sampling showed bacterial levels to be more than 71 colonies per milliliter of marine water, the Florida Health Department in Palm Beach County said Tuesday.

Also, there is an advisory for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in the Lake Okeechobee water body locations.

"Poor" ratings, which are 71 or more for Enterococci, generally are associated with wildlife, heavy recreational usage, high surf from high winds and high tides, or runoff after heavy rains.

"Moderate" is 36-70, the category for Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach with 63. All others are "good," which is less than 10.

DOH-Palm Beach samples beach water for 15 sites from Boca Raton to Jupiter for eterococci as recommended by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration.

"DOH-Palm Beach always encourages rinsing with fresh water after swimming in any natural body of water," the agency said in a news release.

Beach water quality for Palm Beach County and throughout the state can be found at palmbeach.floridahealth.gov/ and then clicking on “Beach Water Sampling”.

Protecting Paradise

Army Corps releases wet season strategy amid algae concerns

Kate Hussey
6:15 PM, Jun 27, 2023

At Lake Okeechobee, the advisory was in response to water samples taken on Thursday. The public is advised to exercise caution in and around these recreational surface area. Drinking water is not affected.

Blue-green algae are common in Florida’s freshwater environments. A bloom occurs with accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors.

"Some environmental factors that contribute to blue-green algae blooms are sunny days, warm water temperatures, still water conditions and excess nutrients," the agency said in a release. "Blooms can appear year-round but are more frequent in summer and fall. Many types of blue-green algae can produce toxins."

The following precautions are

1. Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.

2. Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.

3. Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.

4. Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.

5. Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.

6. Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.