Photo via City of St. Petersburg/Flickr
Health officials are asking the public to stay out of the water at Maximo Park in St. Petersburg after samples show the presence of toxic blue-green algae.
A sample taken from June 30 showed the presence of Cyanotoxin and prompted the Florida Department of Health (DOH) in Pinellas County to issue a health alert for the area, asking residents not to swim, boat, or let pets near the water.
Signs have also been posted to alert visitors.
"If ingested, water contaminated with toxic cyanobacteria can cause nausea, vomiting and, in severe cases, acute liver failure," says the agency. "Avoid swimming in or drinking water from these waters while blue-green algal blooms are present."
DOH and the City of St. Petersburg will continue water sampling the area until the algal presence has subsided.
Blue-green algae are naturally occurring, but are more common in the summer and fall, says the DOH. As still bodies of water heat up and collect extra nutrients, the blooms are more likely.
"A bloom occurs when rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors," says the DOH.
To see if your local swimming area has a toxic algae problem, check the Florida Environmental Protection portal.