By: Katrina Elsken, Okeechobee News
OKEECHOBEE — Low levels of the toxin microcystin were detected in water collected in Lake Okeechobee where a large algal bloom has been reported, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation. Higher levels of microcystin were detected on the Caloosahatchee River in Glades County and in Lee County. The highest level of toxins detected this week was in a sample collected on the Caloosahatchee River at the Alva bridge on June 25, with microcystin levels of 308.07 micrograms per liter.
To date, most of the samples from Lake Okeechobee have had no toxins detected or tested below 1 microgram per liter.
The World Health Organization (WHO) considers microcystin levels below 10 micrograms per liter to be safe for recreational contact.
• On June 21, a sample from the St. Lucie Lock in Martin County had Microcystis aeruginosa (a cyanobacterium) as the dominant taxon. No microcystin was detected.
• A sample taken June 25 on Lake Okeechobee at Moore Haven found Microcystis aeruginosa was dominant. Microcystin levels were 3.3 micrograms per liter. No other toxins were detected.
• On June 25, dense mats of algae were observed on the surface of the Caloosahatchee River at Ortona; Microcystis aeruginosa was dominant in the sample. Microcystin levels were 26.3 micrograms per liter. No other toxins were detected.
• On June 25, a sample taken at the Port Mayaca lock in Martin County had Microcystis aeruginosa dominant. Total microcystin level was 2.2 micrograms per liter, No other toxins were detected.
• On June 25, FDEP sampled an algae bloom at Port Mayaca in Martin County. The dominant taxon was Microcystis aeruginosa (a cyanobacterium). Microcystin levels were measured at 2.2 micrograms per liter. No other toxins were detected…