Water-Related News

DOH-Polk issues Health Alert for Blue-Green Algae at multiple lakes in Polk County

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May 29, 2024

UPDATE: DOH-Polk has upgraded the notice for the lakes below from a Health Caution to a Health Alert. The alerts are in response to water samples taken on May 23, 2024. The public should continue to exercise caution in and around Lake Van, Lake Gibson – West, and Lake Conine - Boat Ramp.

Criteria to issue a blue-green algae Health Caution is when DEP sampling results show that a bloom has been visually detected and/or when sampling results indicate the dominant algal species to be cyanobacteria. Criteria to issue a blue-green algae Health Alert is the presence of cyanotoxin. A blue-green algae Health Alert is lifted once toxins are not detected according to the analyses obtained from DEP-coordinated resampling of the bloom or if 30 days have elapsed since the last sampling date.

May 24, 2024

POLK COUNTY – The Florida Department of Health in Polk County (DOH-Polk) is cautioning the public of the presence of blue-green algae in Scott Lake – West, Lake Van, Lake Hancock – South Central, Lake Gibson – West, and Lake Conine – Boat Ramp on May 23, 2024. Water sample testing is underway. Blue-green algae have the potential to produce toxins. Since environmental conditions can change at any time, it is important to exercise caution, even if presence of toxins has not yet been confirmed.


DOH-Polk advises residents and visitors to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercrafts, or come into contact with waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have any contact with algae, or discolored or water that smells unpleasant.
  • Keep pets and livestock away from the area to avoid any contact with water. Waters where algae blooms are present are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should use an alternative 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 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 thoroughly.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and partners collect algae samples (link opens in new window) from reported bloom locations. After samples are analyzed at their laboratory, the toxin results can be viewed on Protecting Florida Together (link opens in new window) or on DEP’s Algal Bloom Dashboard (link opens in new window