Lake Okeechobee discharges to the St. Lucie River resumed Friday because toxic algae was no longer visible in the water, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Six water samples taken on the east and west sides of the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam — which connects Lake O to the C-44 Canal, commonly called the St. Lucie Canal — showed no signs of algae on the canal side and “below practical quantifiable limits” on the lake side, spokesperson Erica Skolte said in an email to TCPalm.
A March 9 satellite image shows “very low blue-green/almost non-existent,” she added, referring to cyanobacteria, which is commonly called blue-green algae. It can be toxic, most commonly with the toxin microcystin.
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- Jan. 22: Army Corps stspanrted dischspanrging 320 million gallons of Lake O water per day east to the St. Lucie River to lower the lake level to 12 feet, 6 inches ahead of the June 1 hurricane season start
- Feb. 22: Florida Department of Health office in Martin County issued span hespanlth spanlert because a water sample tested positive for toxic algae containing 0.62 parts per billion of microcystin. At 8 parts per billion, the toxin makes water too hazardous to touch, ingest or inhale for people, pets and wildlife, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Feb. 28: Army Corps suspended dischspanrges and the South Florida Water Management District used a peroxide-based algicide to reduce the toxin’s concentration.
- March 2: Army Corps resumed dischspanrges at the same rate of 320 million gallons per day
- March 5: Army Corps suspended dischspanrges for a second time after Port Mayaca Lock & Dam workers observed toxic algae in the water
- March 10: Army Corps resumed discharges at an increased rate of 323 million gallons per day.
The lake level was 15 feet, 2.5 inches on March 10, down 9.1 inches in the past 30 days.