Polk officials warn of possible water contamination in Lake Martha

Polk County

WFLA photo

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents and visitors near Lake Martha are being told to take precautions because of concerns of possible petroleum contamination.

Health officials said a power fuel tank system at Winter Haven Hospital experienced a valve malfunction, which resulted in the tank overflowing to a storm drain that discharges to the lake. A discharge of dyed diesel may have contaminated the water.

City and environmental officials are working to monitor and mitigate the situation.

In the meantime, people in the area are being asked to use caution. If you come in contact with the lake, you should wash thoroughly, especially before eating or drinking.

Water contaminated by dyed diesel presents several health risks to humans, including skin and eye irritation, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory issues and other conditions. Children and older adults, as well as people with weakened immune systems, are particularly vulnerable.

For more information about the incident, contact the health department at 863-519-8330.


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