UPDATE: On 7/14/2022 the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection resampled the lake and did not find toxins. However, blue-green algal bloom conditions were observed or cyanobacteria was found to be the dominant species of algae in the sample. Not all blue-green algae contains toxins. However, adults, children and pets should avoid swimming in or drinking water from these waters while blue-green algal blooms are present.
WINTER HAVEN – The Florida Department of Health in Polk County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Lake Hancock (Center). This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 6/13/2022. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Hancock (Center).
Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, what triggers them to begin producing toxins remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the DEP Algal Bloom Dashboard and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website. On this website, you can also sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.
Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:
You should not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski, or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location.
Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts, and cook fish well.
You should not eat shellfish from this location.
For more information about blue-green algae, visit the Florida Dept. of Health website.