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Algae bloom in St. Johns River causes health concerns

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Updated: 10/07/2013 8:23 am
FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. -- An algae bloom in parts of the St. Johns River has several marinas covered in green slime. The growing problem is now raising health concerns.

For 20 days out of the month, boater Bob Funderburk docks his at the Doctors Lake Marina in Clay County. But lately, green slime covering the boat ramp has made his experience anything but enjoyable.

"It affects my wife because she's a little bit allergic to it and it gives her a hard time breathing," said Funderburk.

According to Jacksonville University professor Dr. Quinton White, what's covering the water is likely a substance called anabeana and microcystis blue-green algae. It's the same algae that almost canceled the St. Johns River swim a couple of weeks ago.

Funderburk said he’s not surprised.

"I believe the subdivisions in Clay County are growing and all the lawn companies are fertilizing. The rain water in turn will run off into the river," said Funderburk.

White said if we don't do a better job of controlling excess fertilizer and leaking septic tanks, the problem will only get worse. He said the algae can cause respiratory problems, irritation and if humans are exposed long enough, it can cause liver problems.

Action News reached out to the St. Johns Riverkeeper for comment but our calls were not immediately returned.

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hazelhoney420 - 10/7/2013 12:46 PM
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