An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Seminole County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

The next meeting of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force will be on Feb 1st

FDEP logo

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is hosting a meeting of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.

Members of the public are invited to participate in-person or online.

  • WHAT: Blue-Green Algae Task Force Meeting
  • WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • WHERE: Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus
    Wolfe University Center, Room 155
    3000 N.E. 151st St.
    North Miami Beach, FL 33181

If joining virtually, please register for the GoTo Webinar or view the livestream on The Florida Channel.

The registration link and meeting agenda are available at ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov.

Public comment will be accepted during the meeting and can also be submitted via email to BlueGreenAlgaeTaskForce@FloridaDEP.gov

Sanford leaders consider plan to improve sewer infrastructure after flooding

SANFORD – Sanford's moving ahead with plans to improve its sewer infrastructure.

On Monday night, city leaders are expected to approve money to cover the design work needed to make necessary improvements that will target vulnerable areas in the historic downtown.

Hurricane Ian sent water out of manholes, flooded portions of the Riverwalk and Seminole Boulevard on the east end of Sanford’s waterfront and sent workers scrambling with vacuum trucks to move water.

“We've spent millions of dollars, we have 300 miles of pipe on the sanitary side and probably that amount on the stormwater side, so we have a lot of responsibility, a lot of resources committed, and now with these recent events, we've had to reprioritize things,“ utility manager Bill Marcous said.

At times when the stormwater systems have been overwhelmed by heavy rains, there's an unintended mingling of sewer water which has backed up into businesses.

A city commission agenda item will now earmark cash for improving the sanitary sewer system downtown, including a new lift station in the plan.

Orange County Dept. of Health issues Health Caution for Lake Burkett-Center

FDOH logo

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Lake Burkett - Center. This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 01/19/2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Burkett - Center.

This Health Caution extends the one issued on January 9th.

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so 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 (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can 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.

Alternative water supply projects within the CFWI receive state funding

CFWI logo

The State, in coordination with the water management districts, has provided more than $9.9 million in cost-share funding for nine alternative water supply projects within the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) area.

These projects are anticipated to leverage more than $297.1 million in cooperating entity matching funds and create more than 23.4 million gallons per day and 13 million gallons in transmission/distribution capacity when they are fully online.

The projects include:

  • Oak Hill 200 LLC Rosala West Water Conservation (Orange)
  • Orange County Utilities Year 2 Water Conservation Through WWNP with Advanced Targeting (Orange)
  • Seminole County Toilet Rebate Program Phase 2 (Seminole)
  • City of Minneola AWS Reclaimed Water Project (Lake)
  • Sunshine Water Services Oranges Lower Floridan Well (Lake)
  • Polk Regional Water Cooperative (PRWC) Southeast Wellfield Implementation (Polk)
  • PRWC Southeast Regional Transmission System (Polk)
  • PRWC West Polk Wellfield Implementation (Polk)
  • PRWC West Polk Wellfield Test Production Well #2 (Polk)

Seminole Dept. of Health again extends Health Alert for Deep Lake

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January 20, 2023

SANFORD – The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County has extended the Health Alert previously issued for Deep Lake (Oviedo).

The alert is in response to a water sample taken on January 17, 2023 and will be extended until February 16, 2023.

The public should exercise caution in and around Deep Lake where algal blooms are present.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the precautions listed below.


Prior Notice Below:

SANFORD – The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County has extended the Health Alert previously issued for Deep Lake (Oviedo). The alert is in response to a water sample taken on December 19, 2022 and will be extended until January 18, 2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Deep Lake where algal blooms are present. Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
  • Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.
  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.
  • 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.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

Seminole County Health Dept. issues Blue-Green Algae Bloom Alert for Wood Lake

FDOH logo

SANFORD – The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Wood Lake (Unincorporated Seminole/Maitland Area.) The alert is in response to water samples taken on January 9, 2023. The public should exercise caution in and around lakes where algal blooms are present.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
  • Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.
  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.
  • 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.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

For additional information on potential health effects of algal blooms, visit floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins.

Find current information about Florida’s water quality status and public health notifications for harmful algal blooms and beach conditions by visiting ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov.

Protecting Florida Together is the state’s joint effort to provide statewide water quality information to prioritize environmental transparency and commitment to action.

No debate anymore: Climate change makes extreme weather worse, federal scientists say

Scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) delivered a clear message: Climate change is — unequivocally — making extreme weather events worse.

South Florida has always been hot, rainy and vulnerable to hurricanes. So it’s understandable that some longtime residents remain skeptical that climate change is doing anything to make the region’s age-old problems any worse.

But scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) delivered a clear message Monday at the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting in Denver, Colorado: Climate change is — unequivocally — making extreme weather events worse.

In fact, scientists can now go a step further and show that specific weather disasters were more likely or more damaging because we live in a hotter climate. At the meeting, scientists presented case studies of heat waves, droughts, and extreme rainfall events that were influenced by climate change over the past two years in the U.S., South Korea, China and other countries. A collection of these studies was also published Monday in a special report from the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Florida’s emergency chief seeks changes in disaster response

Florida’s emergency-management director wants lawmakers to make changes to help with disaster preparation and response, pointing to issues that have arisen as the state recovers from Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole.

Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie this week asked lawmakers to reduce the amount of time people have to remove damaged boats from waterways and to provide uniform requirements for local governments about debris-removal contracts. He also wants to tweak a new relief fund and shield from public records the names of people harmed by disasters.

“What we’re talking about is media outlets. We’re talking about lawyers, attorneys, those that are seeking to try to start making money off of disaster survivors and victims,” Guthrie told members of the Senate Select Committee on Resiliency as he described the proposed public records exemption.

Key Florida lawmaker focuses on shifting from septic tanks to sewer systems

The chair of the Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee said a “big focus” will be getting homes and businesses off septic systems.

A Republican senator who oversees environmental spending said this week he wants to continue efforts to shift properties from septic tanks to sewer systems to try to help protect waterways.

Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Sanford Republican who chairs the Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, said a “big focus” will be getting homes and businesses off septic systems.

“As we look at the nutrients that are continuing to leach into our waterways, particularly inland, we want to make sure that we're doing all we can to support those municipalities, to make sure that those (nutrients) are not continuing to move into our water bodies and jeopardizing either our wildlife or our recreational opportunities,” Brodeur said during a subcommittee meeting Thursday.

This year’s state budget includes $557 million for water quality improvements, with $125 million aimed at helping with such things as septic conversions and upgrades.

Seminole County Dept. of Health extends Health Alert for Deep Lake

FDOH logo

SANFORD – The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County has extended the Health Alert previously issued for Deep Lake (Oviedo). The alert is in response to a water sample taken on December 19, 2022 and will be extended until January 18, 2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Deep Lake where algal blooms are present. Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
  • Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.
  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.
  • 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.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.