Water-Related News

Lee County Health Dept. LIFTS Health Alert for Caloosahatchee-West First Street and Altamont Ave.

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August 18, 2023

LEE COUNTY – The Florida Department of Health in Lee County (DOH-Lee) has lifted the health alert issued on June 23, 2023, for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in the Caloosahatchee – West First Street and Altamont Avenue.

Follow-up water samples taken by the Department of Environmental Protection did not detect algal toxins, indicating the public may resume water-related activities.

It is important that the public exercise caution and good judgement. Blue-green algae blooms can move around or subside and then reappear when conditions are favorable again. Residents and visitors are advised to avoid contact with the water if blooms are observed. The latest sample results can be viewed on ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov.

Report symptoms from exposure to a harmful algal bloom or any aquatic toxin to the Florida Poison Information Center. Call 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a poison specialist.

Original Notice Follows:

June 22, 2023

LEE COUNTY – The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is cautioning the public of the presence of blue-green algae blooms in the Caloosahatchee River – West First St. and Altamont Ave. Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to do so remains poorly understood. Since bloom conditions can change at any time, it is important to exercise caution as if the bloom were toxic, even if toxin presence has not yet been confirmed.

Residents and visitors are advised to 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.

Updates on water quality status can be found on the statewide Algal Bloom Dashboard.