Toxic algal blooms observed in local waterbodies

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 11:40 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Department of Health warns the public to avoid bodies of water with algal blooms.

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science observed these blooms in Lake Pontchartrain, and there have been recent sightings in other local waterbodies.

Algal blooms are the rapid growth, or “bloom,” of algae on the surface of water, and they may appear blue, bright green, brown or red and have a strong odor like rotting plants. They may appear as a foam, or scum, on the surface of the water and prefer the sunnier weather of summer and fall.

While some algae are harmless, certain types can produce toxins harmful to humans, animals and the environment, which is why it is crucial to take the necessary precautions when encountering those water bodies affected by algae blooms.

The LDH warns that you cannot tell if a bloom is harmful by looking at it and some are not easy to see, so it is best to use caution and stay away.

Staying out of affected water, keeping pets away, and washing with soap and water after coming in contact with algal blooms are recommended if you notice a bloom.

To prevent harmful algal blooms from forming, use only the recommended amount of fertilizers on your farm or garden, which will reduce the amount of nutrients running off into nearby bodies of water. Maintaining septic systems can be helpful, as well.

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