Here is what we are seeing around the Greater Stuart, Florida area this week. Yes, it’s back – the Toxic Bluegreen Algae.
The last time I wrote about Toxic Algae was the Summer of 2016. Our beaches were closed over the Fourth of July weekend because the water was polluted by blooming Bluegreen Algae – Cyanobacteria that spawns toxic Microcystin if it blooms. I am not certain the toxic part is well understood, the toxins (among them Microcystin) can cause rashes, upset stomach, breathing difficulties and are implicated in causing ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and non alcohol related liver disease. Oh, by the way, the area I live in has the largest unexplained cluster of liver disease in the country. Many people drink and bathe in well water. Follow link below for more information.
Florida Sows Sewage
How does the algae get to my house, you may wonder. It comes down the St. Lucie River from Lake Okeechobee where the State of Florida brews a toxic stew in the Lake and the Federal Government’s Corps of Engineers open the floodgates to prevent flooding downstream. Who is responsible – no one entity. The toxic stew is caused partially by poor land development management and storm runoff measures and the continuation by the state of Florida of allowing large Agricultural entities to sow partially treated human sewage (Class B Biosolids) as fertilizer on enormous swaths of land. Then the state doesn’t inspect, regulate or oversee any of it. Best Management Practices, known as BMPs, (land management practices developed to prevent nutrient runoff from fertilizers -nutrients feed algae) – currently in place in Florida were rolled back from required and enforced to voluntary by the current gang in power.
Would you get a driver’s license if there were no requirements, meaning voluntary? Think about it.
Class B Biosolids are currently under consideration as the culprit in the impending ruination one of the last pristine lakes in Florida, Blue Cypress Lake. Toxic Bluegreen Algae is keeping everyone out of the water there this summer. Interestingly, the practice of spreading biosolids was outlawed in two out of three of the nearby watersheds due to problems with phosphorous (nutrient) pollution. Ironically, the sewage polluting Blue Cypress Lake originates in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale and is trucked to be used as fertilizer to grow Bahiagrass to feed cattle 200 miles north.
Cattle Produce Manure, a lot of Manure
About one quarter of the land area in Florida is agricultural. In addition to the mass quantities of fertilizer used to grow grass for grazing and crops, there are 1.6 million head of cattle in the state, producing 67 pounds of manure each daily on average. We are drowning our water resources in sewage. To what end.
The end of tourism – a 67 Billion Dollar Industry? Tourists really like clean water.
The end of land development – 6 million additional residents are projected by 2030! They are going to have to poop somewhere and they like clean water, too.
The end of Agriculture – how much sewage can you sow before your nest is fouled? Plants and animals like clean water, too.
As for me, I like clean water and can only opine that something needs to change, soon and drastically. Our experience this year with our government and leaders thus far has been nothing short of tragic.
An email to my County Commissioner (from last week) – unanswered. Really kind of strange, if I had to name the most hated human in Martin County, he would be at the top of nearly everyone’s list I have encountered locally. I have never met the guy.
The State Department of Environmental Protection – answered my questions, but is not following up on all algae sites reported. Our community has a Toxic Algae Facebook page tracking our algae sightings. That the DEP admitted to reading and following. More than strange, they read our social media yet don’t follow up on algae sightings.
The State said the County Commissioners should issue health warnings about the algae, the County said the State Health Department should issue health warnings about the algae. Our Facebook community started an change.org petition to get our county to post signs about the algae.
The scuttlebutt from Martin County was the algae wasn’t toxic enough to issue warnings. It is toxic but not toxic enough.
I would never have imagined the entire chain of command for the State of Florida, charged with protecting our life safety cannot even be bothered to post warning signs near swimming areas of potentially dangerous toxins in the water.
When Florida sows sewage, algae blooms in our estuary.