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Orange County issues Health Caution for blue-green algae in Little Econ

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The Orange County EPD has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in the Little Econlockhatchee River. This is in response to water sample(s) collected by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on April 24, 2024. The public should exercise caution in and around the Little Econlockhatchee River. Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions provided by the Department of Health

  • We do not recommend that you swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location.
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes/streams experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish to the appropriate temperature.

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. 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. Many types of blue-green algae can produce toxins.

Blue-green algae blooms can impact human health and ecosystems, including fi