Officials are urging residents to heed the alert issued by the Florida Department of Health-Flagler (DOH-F) about harmful blue-green algal toxins in the waters north of the Bull Creek Campground in western Flagler County. The DOH-F installed alert signs at the boat ramp and dockage areas of the county-owned park.
“The Florida Department of Health-Flagler does a great job keeping us apprised of the situation when something like this happens, as well as issuing releases and putting up signage,” said County Administrator Heidi Petito. “They will continue to take water samples and will not remove the signage until the bloom is no longer a threat.”
The DOH-F in its news release issued June 2 asked residents and visitors 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 well.
- Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.
Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria that is common in Florida’s freshwater environments. A bloom occurs when rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors, the release states. Some environmental factors that contribute to blue-green algae blooms are sunny days, warm water temperatures, still water conditions and excess nutrients. Blooms can appear year-round but are more frequent in summer and fall.
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