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Algae bloom on Lake Munson to be retested for toxins

Mats of blue green algae found on Lake Munson in Southeast Tallahassee
Tallahassee Sewage and Wakulla Basin Advocacy Group
Mats of blue green algae found on Lake Munson in Southeast Tallahassee

The state is retesting blue-green algae bloom found in Lake Munson. The re-test comes after the Florida Department of Health issued and later rescinded a notice about toxic algae in the lake earlier this week.

The Department of Environmental Protection is retesting the blue-green algae bloom in Lake Munson. The algae was initially spotted by Terry Ryan, co-founder of the Tallahassee Sewage and Wakulla Basin Advocacy Group. After an advisory notice on Tuesday afternoon from the Florida Department of Health stated that the algae was not toxic, Ryan requested further testing.

 Close up image of a blue green algae mat on Lake Munson in southeast Tallahassee
Tallahassee Sewage and Wakulla Basin Advocacy Group
Close up image of a blue green algae mat on Lake Munson in southeast Tallahassee

He initially observed the algae on April 27thwhile kayaking on Lake Munson to gather samples for another project his advocacy group is working on. "I was on the lake, getting ready to collect samples," said Ryan, "and lo and behold came up on these very, very large algae bloom mats."

To gather the samples for this project, Ryan had to dip bottles into the water. In the following days, Ryan developed a rash on one of his arms, which is one of the symptoms of blue-green algae exposure the DOH listed in their advisory notice.

When the advisory was released on Tuesday afternoon, Ryan was a bit skeptical that no toxins were found in the algae that was sampled. He believes the sample was not collected in the area of the lake where the algae was most likely to produce toxins. After a request, the Department of Environmental Protection informed Ryan on Wednesday that it intends to conduct further tests on the algae in Lake Munson.

Even with no toxins found in their sample, the Florida Department of Health is still advising that people and their pets avoid any visible algae bloom on Lake Munson.

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Brett Rutherford