• The St. Johns River keeper has a message for people planning on being in the water

    By: Brittney Verner , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    There has been a significant increase in the amount of algae surfacing lately and testing shows it's filled with toxins that can be damaging to humans. 

    The riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman said the most algae in the water has surface in the Palatka area. 

    The algae can cause severe short term and long term damage if people come in contact with it so Rinaman is warning people to beware. 

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    Last week pictures surfaced from various areas in the water filled with algae. Palatka , Lake Harris boat ramp, Welaka, Satsuma and other areas of the St. Johns River have all showed algae in the water. Monday aerial views from Sky Action News Jax showed how widespread the problem is. 

    The algae is a symptom of too much nutrient pollution in the river which comes from things like fertilizers,  wastewater treatment facilities, septic tanks  and animal waste. This can be very dangerous to humans. 

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    “Some types can affect the liver, others can affect the nervous system. Long term affects can cause impacts to the skin, short term exposure can cause skin irritation or respiratory distress,” Rinovan said. 

    Rinovan said the Environmental Protection Agency tested samples for toxins in the Palatka area last week and results showed the algae could cause potential health risk. 

    “They identified a toxin that impacts the liver as well as a type of toxin that impacts the nervous system,” Rinovan said.

    Research shows the these blooms could get worse as the temperatures increase.

    Rinovan is urging people to stay away from the green algae. However, if someone did come in contact with it, information on the department of health’s website can help them identify what to do next. 
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