A blue-green algae bloom in Doctors Lake is posing a serious health risk to swimmers.
St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman said water samples taken the week of July 10 detected the presence of microcystin toxin in the Clay County lake that feeds into the St. Johns River.
Rinaman said the concentration of microcystin in the Clay County lake was more than three times higher than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for human exposure.
“And we’re very concerned because Doctors Lake is very popular,” she said, “not only with boaters and fishermen but also there’s a Boy Scout camp there.”
Samples taken from Doctors Lake by the St. Johns River Water Management District on July 12 confirmed the Riverkeeper’s findings, Rinaman said.
“We were hoping the state would issue a health advisory,” she said, “but unfortunately they decided just to do a regular warning telling people to stay away from algae without notifying the public that they could potentially be in harm’s way.
Blue-green algae blooms are typically caused by excess water pollution. Exposure can cause skin irritation, stomach ailments, itchy eyes, asthma, and, at high levels, liver damage.