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FAU professor studying algae blooms in Palm Beach County

Warns issue could get worse
Posted at 7:40 PM, Jun 28, 2016

Dr. Bill Louda said he couldn't believe it. The research professor has studied water quality for more than 40 years, but he'd never seen algae in a canal near his Loxahatchee Groves home until last weekend.

“I could see it going by with this green slime on the surface,” he described.

So Louda stopped his car and bottled up a sample. Today, the Florida Atlantic University professor confirmed his suspicions: the green stuff he found is microcystis aeruginosa; the same ugly blue green algae now showing up from Fort Pierce to Lake Worth.

“I’ve been worried about Lake Worth Lagoon potentially having algal blooms much like the Indian River Lagoon,” Louda said. 

He added some forms of the algae are toxic. It can kill the animals and plants living underwater, and cause breathing issues for humans.

“You don't want to eat any shellfish of fish that have been consuming things because this toxin gets passed up the food chain,” he explained.

Louda is working on his own to find out what's causing this algae bloom. He said it could be anything from fertilizer runoff to septic tanks leaking.

His plan is to share what he learns with county leaders to help them address the growing problem.

“I hope that this is a one-time, small event and it's not a harbinger of the future,” he said.