Water-Related News

Florida DEP detects blue-green algae bloom in Lake Hamilton

POLK COUNTY – Memorial Day weekend plans may be thwarted by a summertime menace to Florida waters known as blue-green algae blooms.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) detected the harmful blue-green algal toxins on the east side of Lake Hamilton by Sample Park on May 17.

“They should not be in the water, including boating, anything like that. Shouldn’t have pets around the water either because they could get sick,” said Pamela Acosta-Torres, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health in Polk County.

Boating can cause the water to mist and enter the lungs, causing irritation.

Other exposure can cause rashes and stomach problems.

“Blue-green algae is something that’s natural in Florida’s fresh water sources, but at certain points, it can be aggravated, and they can start producing that toxin. It’s worse when it’s sunny, when it’s hot outside,” said Acosta-Torres.

According to a DEP spokesperson, aerial imagery showed potential bloom development in April but no microcystin toxins were detected from that sample.