State public-health authorities have closed a Deltona lake because of the emergence and spread of blue-green algae.
The Florida Department of Health is advising against contact with the water in Lorraine Lake, located near the intersection of East Normandy and Saxon boulevards in south Deltona.
Word of the algae bloom came late Monday afternoon, Aug. 23, in a news release sent out by the agency, based on a water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Aug. 17.
Acting Deltona City Manager John Peters said he had no advance word about the closing of the lake.
“I’m not real happy about it. Something that serious, if there is an investigation going on, we should have known,” he told The Beacon.
A resident with a home fronting on the lake said she had not received any word about the harmful algae.
Asked if Deltona plans to do anything to combat the bloom or to alert others about the possible dangers from the harmful algae, Peters said, “I am waiting to hear back from Public Works and [the] Stormwater [Division].”
Based on his prior experience as a professional engineer, Peters said the algae bloom was likely caused by stormwater finding its way into the lake.
Stormwater runoff can contain excess nitrates and phosphorus from a variety of sources, including lawn fertilizer. The excess nutrients combined with warm weather can create water environments that algae thrive in.
While blue-green algae is a common freshwater bacteria in Florida, the life cycle of an algal bloom (in other words, excessive and rapid growth of the algae) can produce nerve and liver toxins.
The DOH advises that residents and visitors 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.