Water-Related News

Toxic blue-green algae becoming a possible health concern for North Fort Myers residents

NORTH FORT MYERS – Cyanobacteria has taken over the canals of Waterway Estates in North Fort Myers, a canal system along the Caloosahatchee River.

Photos taken on Wednesday and Thursday show huge, green mats of bad-smelling blue-green algae, but now scientists are concerned it could be harmful to breathe for people living nearby.

“Past week at least, it started out just turning green,” said Glen Trent, who lives along a canal in the Waterway Estates Community of North Fort Myers. “It got like a rotten egg-type smell. It’s really bad.”

That smell comes from the thick green mat that has taken over his canal, confirmed on Wednesday by FGCU as blue-green algae.

John Cassani, from Calusa Waterkeeper, was alarmed when he saw the water and decided to take a sample.

“When it starts to form the surface scum, that’s when it gets pretty significant, it’s gonna be around for a while,” Cassani said.

He and other scientists are worried that because you can smell the bloom, it could mean that the deadly toxins produced by Cyanobacteria are making their way into the air.