Algae Toxins Cripple Water Supply in West Palm Beach

by | May 31, 2021 | Press

Originally published by WINK News on May 31, 2021

Neighbors lined up for safe drinking water in West Palm Beach after testing showed high levels of algae toxins.

Home filtration systems don’t work in this case, and you can’t just boil it out.

WINK News wanted to know: Could this happen here?

In Lee County, almost all of our water treatment plants pull from groundwater, the aquifer. The situation unfolding on the East Coast comes from canal water entering a wetland preserve that feeds the city’s water supply.

Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani said most places, including Fort Myers and Cape Coral, rely on the aquifer, or groundwater, for their water supply.

“Typically, we don’t find cyanobacteria in groundwater, but we may find or you may be able to detect cyanotoxins in groundwater, if the wells are shallow enough, so it is possible to find it, but it’s unusual.”

WINK News reached out to Lee County about the Olga water treatment plant, which does use water from the Caloosahatchee River. We were told it’s offline right now per normal operating procedures for annual maintenance.

In this case, Lee County Utilities uses its other plants.

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