(PALM BEACH COUNTY)- Boaters beware, officials with the Florida Department of Health have issued a blue-green algae alert for a section of Lake Okeechobee.
The section of the lake, known as LZ40, sits approximately 9 miles WNW of Canal Point.
Water samples drawn from the area this week revealed the presence of the toxic algae but officials say drinking water is not being affected by the bloom.
Blue-green algae in Lake O is becoming more and more common during the summer months due in part to warm temperatures and excessive nutrients caused by fertilizer runoff from agricultural interest along the shore.
The foul-smelling algae can cause health issues in both humans and animals and can lead to fish die-offs.
Florida health officials advise the following:
- 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.
Boaters and anglers on Lake Okeechobee are being asked to report any fish die-offs or blue-green algae sightings to the Florida Department of Health or the Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission.