We know Lake Rowena looks inviting. As the temperatures climb, the urban lake just beyond the Harry P. Leu Gardens is practically begging for waders. But the city says to stay away for the time being.
A test of the water back in May found potentially unsafe concentrations of Cylindrospermopsin, a cyanotoxin that can damage organs if ingested. They issued an alert to stay out of the lake and have continued to test the water since then. The most recent results, from a sample taken on July 6, found that the lake still has a low concentration of the offending substance.
The city laid out their course of action in issuing the initial alert. They don't plan to treat the water, as doing so would be harmful for local wildlife. Instead, they are monitoring the levels until the toxins dissipate naturally.
"Cyanobacteria/blue-green algae are always present in the water, however, not all bacteria have the ability to produce toxins. Toxicity is hard to predict because a single species of algae can have toxic and non-toxic strains," they wrote.
"Nothing can be done to treat algae blooms without causing massive fish kills. Due to this, the city will work closely with Florida Department of Environmental Protection to closely monitor Lake Rowena. The city staff will continue to routinely test the lake, but the city's tests will only provide an update on the presence of cylindrospermopsin."
The lake has previously been closed for toxic algae blooms, and one notable instance when a Mills 50 apartment building accidentally dumped gallons of crap into the lake system.
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