How often are Lee County waterways are being tested?

Posted at 11:02 PM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 23:02:12-04

The governor's declared a state of emergency for Florida, asking people to report algae blooms sightings.

And the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is beefing up its testing sites.

But it turns out Lee County is lagging behind in testing.

The blue-green algae is florescent green.

It can gum on to your boat or paddle board, creating a sticky film.

And some complain its causing itchy eyes and soar throats.

The Department of Health for Lee County says, despite these complaints, the water is OK to swim in.

There are no advisory notices.

The health department tests water samples at 13 beaches in Lee County.

But they only look for one type of bacteria that can cause infections and rashes.

But they don't check for toxins put out by algae.

That is done by the state, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP website that the state is testing for microsystine a toxin produced by the algae.

On their website it states it purchased multiple testing kits, training field staff to perform preliminary tests .

The only problem, their map shows they are not checking in Lee County!

Fox 4 News asked why that is the case.

They responded that they "DEP staff have met with the Lee County sampling staff and arranged to start supplying them with sampling kits. Once Lee County receives the kits, they will collect samples where blooms are observed, and send them to the DEP laboratory in Tallahassee for analysis."

In the meantime, they added that Florida Fish and Wildlife are conducting tests and sharing those tests with the DEP.