Test results: No new toxins in algae blooms

Posted at 6:04 PM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-03 16:46:41-04


UPDATE: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has released results from tests performed on the algae blooms that have been spreading in the St. Lucie River.

The DEP says no new toxins have been detected at any of the 3 test sites sampled in the St. Lucie River on May 31.

The last time anything toxic was detected in a sample was May 23 near Port Mayaca.

The Martin County Health Department says even though none of the most recent samples came back toxic, they still warn people interacting with the water to use caution.


Jim Harter knows a thing or two about fishing the St. Lucie Estuary.

“Where my house sits used to be a place called the Sailfish Lodge.  Built in 1921, people used to come from all over the world to fish out of there," said Harter Tuesday as he pulled his boat onto the St. Lucie River.

This long time fisherman, says discharges from Lake Okeechobee, have been happening a long time.  As he makes his way out near the Veterans Memorial Bridge, there are large neon blue-green algae blooms, in places Harter says oysters used to thrive.

 “In the morning when there’s no wave action, the algae will raise to the surface," said Harter.        

Harter says he’s frustrated by what he sees, “I don’t sleep at night.  It’s disgusting.  My passion in life is to be on the water and when they take it away from you, it’s disheartening."

Tuesday, Governor Rick Scott was in West Palm Beach to sign a bill for the “Legacy Florida” initiative, designed to provide money to restore the Everglades.  He was asked about the recent algae blooms.

“DEP and the Department of Health, they’re testing to make sure all our citizens and all our visitors are safe.  We’ll be doing that all this week and we’ll be doing whatever we can to figure this out," said the Governor.

The fear for Harter, is we’ll see a rerun of what happened a few years ago.

“2013 was a lost summer and it looks like its going to be the same.”

The Department of Environmental Protection will test wherever it spots algae, like the St. Lucie Lock, and the area where the North and South forks of the St. Lucie River meet.  One of the most prominent places for algae this week has been at Shepard's Park in Stuart.