Health officials issue blue-green algae bloom warning for Three Sisters Springs in Citrus County

HEALTH OFFICIALS ISSUE THREE SISTERS SPRING BLUE-GREEN ALGAE BLOOM PRECAUTION IN CITRUS COUNTY

[Lecanto, Fla.] — The Florida Department of Health in Citrus County (DOH-Citrus) issued a warning about the presence of harmful blue-green algae toxins in the Three Sisters Spring Canal between 3rd Avenue and 4e Street. This is in response to a water sample taken on September 1, 2022. The public should exercise caution in and around Three Sisters Springs.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use a personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is visible bloom.
  • Wash your skin and clothes with soap and water if you come into contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
  • Keep pets away from the area. Waters with algal blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different water source in case of algae blooms.
  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated with algae blooms. Boiling water will not remove toxins.
  • Eating fillets of healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes that experience blooms is safe. Rinse the fish fillets with tap or bottled water, discard the casings and cook the fish thoroughly.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algal blooms.

What is blue-green algae?

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

Some environmental factors that contribute to blue-green algae blooms are sunny days, warm water temperatures, calm water conditions, and excess nutrients. Flowers can appear all year round but are most common in summer and fall. Many types of blue-green algae can produce toxins.

Is it harmful?

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

For more information on the potential health effects of algal blooms, visit floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins.

Find current information on the status of Florida’s water quality and public health notifications regarding harmful algal blooms and the condition of beaches by visiting ProtectFloridaTogether.gov. Protecting Florida Together is the state’s joint effort to provide statewide water quality information to prioritize environmental transparency and commitment to action.

What should I do if I see an algae bloom?

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection collects and analyzes algal bloom samples. To report a bloom to DEP, call the toll-free hotline at 855-305-3903 or report on line.

To report killed fish, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute at 1-800-636-0511.

Report symptoms exposure to harmful algal blooms or any aquatic toxins at the Florida Poison Information Center, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a poison specialist immediately.

Contact your veterinarian if you think your pet has become ill after consuming or coming into contact with water contaminated with blue-green algae.

If you have other health questions or concerns about blue-green algae blooms, please call the Florida Department of Health in Citrus County at 352-513-6100.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Councilstrives to protect, promote and improve the health of all Florida residents through integrated state, county and community efforts.

follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

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