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Toxic algae bloom at Pahokee Marina, Martin County waterways prompt health alerts

People should avoid recreational activities in the waters where the algae bloom is visible
Pahokee Marina
Posted at 12:54 PM, Apr 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-13 18:23:00-04

PAHOKEE, Fla. — A health advisory has been issued for Pahokee Marina and three waterways in Martin County for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins.

The Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach and Martin Counties issued the alerts Friday after water samples taken on Tuesday.

The waterways impacted in Martin County are Lake Okeechobee, the L-47 Canal and the C-44 Canal.

The health departments said the public should exercise caution in and around the area when participating in recreational activities in the water. Health officials said drinking water is not affected.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom. 
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water. 
  • 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. 
  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins. 
  • 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 to appropriate temperature. 
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

Blue-green algae is a type of bacteria that is common in Florida's freshwater environments.
A bloom occurs when the rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors.

To report an algal bloom to the Department of Environmental Protection, call 1-855-305-3903 or report it online.