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Palm Beach County issues Health Alert due to toxic algae in C-51 canal

algae
Algae on the C-51 canal near the town of Lake Clarke Shores in Palm Beach County on May 17, 2021. Courtesy: WPTV

The Florida Department of Health has issued a health advisory after toxic blue-green algae was found on the C-51 canal in Palm Beach County.
Residents are advised not to wade or swim in the water, but you can fish.

Officials said the alert is in effect for the following areas:

~ C-51 bridge at Southern Boulevard and Military Trail
~ C-51 bridge at Forrest Hill Boulevard and Interstate 95
~ C-51 canal at S-155 spillway (upstream)

The advisory was prompted after a water sample taken June 2 found toxins.

The canal has been plagued by algae issues since at least last month.

Area residents previously described the problems as “horrible” and said the algae has been spreading.

Blue-green algae blooms can impact human health and ecosystems, including fish and other aquatic animals.

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
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