TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Blue-green algae, which is harmful to pets, has been detected in the waters in and around Maximo Park in St. Petersburg, according to the health department.
Recent sampling of the water around the park, located at Sunshine Skyway Lane and Pinellas Point Drive, detected signs of the blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, a naturally occurring type of bacteria that is common in Florida’s freshwater environments and some marine environments.
Blue-green algae can be toxic to pets and kill them in just minutes. Warm temperatures, sunlight, water conditions and excess nutrients can cause blue-green algae to bloom.
The health department is urging residents and visitors to use caution near the water. Visitors should keep pets away from the area, and avoid drinking, swimming, wading or using personal watercraft where there is a visible bloom. They should also avoid cooking or cleaning with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water won’t get rid of the toxins.
You shouldn’t eat shellfish from waters with algae blooms, but eating fillets from healthy fish is safe, as long as you rinse them with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook it well, according to the health department.
To report a bloom, call the health department’s toll-free hotline at 855-305-3903. For additional information on the health effects of algal blooms, visit the health department’s website.