Martin County Officials Declare State of Emergency
In recent months, when most people think of water contamination and the use of water quality kits, they often think of the current situation in Flint, MI. Unfortunately, that is not the only area to make headlines with concerns of water quality.
Officials in Martin County, Fl announced on July 5 that they will extend the state of emergency for an additional week as concerns of algae remain. This comes one week after an analysis of water quality parameters revealed a severe problem with algae. Experts recommend residents purchase fresh water test kits for their homes. There has been no discussion on whether well water test kits are needed as well.
News 25 reports that Governor Rick Scott has demanding several actions take place in order to address the issue. These actions include:
- Deploying teams of additional staff to survey and sample areas impacted by algae blooms.
- Purchasing On-Site Microsystin Testing Kits which allow field staff to perform faster preliminary tests for toxins on site. These water quality kits will provide information about the sampled algae quickly and allow health advisories to be issued.
- Launching a Bloom Reporting Hotline. A hotline has been created for citizens to call to report algae blooms, allowing staff to report and respond to areas with a suspected bloom.
- Continued deployment of FWC Research Institute staff to survey and sample suspected blooms offshore. As of yet, no offshore blooms have been confirmed.
- Store additional water north of Lake Okeechobee in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.
- Work with state and community partners to explore opportunities to increase water flowing south from Lake Okeechobee.
- Store additional water through dispersed water storage projects.
To help with the efforts, Florida Power and Light Co. agreed to temporarily store about 2.2 billion gallons per month of Lake Okeechobee water. The water will be withdrawn from the C-44 canal in the cooling pond at the FPL Martin Clean Energy Center near Indiantown in western Martin County. Storage of the water will begin as soon as this week and will continue for about three to four months.
Earlier this week, a dead baby manatee was found floating in toxic algae but was too decomposed for an autopsy. After using water testing kits on the nearby area, it can be assumed the animal died from algae exposure. The Martin County government made a statement saying they are considering opening an emergency shelter as well.
For now, only time will tell how the algae issue will be resolved, but state officials are currently doing everything in their power to help local residents including providing water quality kits.