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Algae spotted on M canal in western Palm Beach County as blooms continue

Algal growth being isolated, utilities director says
Posted at 5:14 PM, Jun 07, 2021

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Algae has been spotted on the M canal, which feeds into the West Palm Beach watershed.

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It's unclear if the algae is toxic, but signs were spotted warning the public of the dangers.

The algae slick was spotted over the weekend 25 miles west of West Palm Beach by Lake Worth Waterkeeper, an environmental group.

Algae on M canal in Palm Beach County

"M canal is sitting pretty stagnant now because we're at the tail end of the dry season. Eventually, it's going to start raining, and when that happens, we suspect the M canal, just like all the other canals, will start filling up, and water will start flowing again," said Reinaldo Diaz of Lake Worth Waterkeeper.

The algae issues continue in area waterways after an advisory was in place for nearly a week in West Palm Beach.

That advisory was lifted Friday morning after officials said all customers can now safely drink the city's tap water.

Dr. Poonam Kalkat, West Palm Beach's utilities director, said the city is now drawing water from underground aquifers and closely monitoring surface water that reaches the treatment plant.

"If we see any algal growth, we immediately isolate that area and treat it so we don't have chances of it coming to the plant," Kalkat said Friday as water restrictions over algae were lifted.

Health Alert in Palm Beach County

The latest round of testing of the C-51 canal led the Florida Health Department in Palm Beach County to issue a health alert for blue-green algae Monday.

The department said tests on June 2 discovered the algae in the canal at Southern Boulevard and Military Trail and at Forest Hill Boulevard and Interstate 95.

The public is urged to avoid coming into contact with the water.