What is a Lake Alert?
Lake Alerts are notifications posted, recorded or emailed when a City lake has a water quality concern. These notifications include the type of water quality hazard and severity of it. It also alerts the public when the water body is safe again for recreational purposes. Notifications will be posted on this page, recorded at 407.246.2220 and emailed to those who sign up to receive Lake Alerts in their inbox.
1. WARM WATER WARNINGS:
Avoid Naegleria fowleri and primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)
Parasitic disease caused by Naegleria is very rare — only a few hundred cases have ever been reported, however, a few common sense precautions will protect people from acquiring this and other water borne infections:
- Avoid swimming in very warm water, especially if it is shallow and/or stagnant (not moving). The majority of PAM cases have resulted from exposure to water that is 26°C (80°F) or warmer.
- Avoid taking in water through the nose while swimming, diving, water skiing or jumping into water. A nose clip can be used to prevent water being forced up the nose.
- Stay out of the water if “No Swimming” signs are posted.
- Do not swim in swimming pools that are very warm or that are not properly maintained, even if the water is chlorinated. Naegleria fowleri is resistant to chlorine.
2. BLUE-GREEN ALGAE BLOOMS:
Know the facts about health concerns related to blue-green algae exposure
Blue-green algae are simple plants that appear in water and wet areas. An algae “bloom” is a rapid buildup of algae that creates a green, blue-green or brown color on the surface of the water. They are often found in standing water in lakes and ponds near the shoreline. Warm, calm water and nutrients contribute to the rapid growth of algae. Blooms can occur any time of year, but are typically observed from the early spring to the fall in Central Florida.
Only a few types of blue-green algae are known to produce toxins, however, there is no way to determine visually whether or not a bloom is toxic. If you suspect an algae bloom is present, it is best to stay out of the water, keep pets away and contact the City of Orlando Stormwater Hotline at 407.246.2370. If you do contact the water, wash thoroughly with a clean source of water. Do not use the affected water for drinking or cooking, as toxins cannot be removed with filtration, boiling or chemical treatments. However, activities near the water are safe. Eating fish caught during a bloom can pose a health risk.
If swallowed, toxic algae can cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps, fainting, numbness, dizziness, tingling and paralysis. Skin contact can cause rashes or irritation. Children and pets are at greatest risk.
Characteristic images of algae blooms:
Appears as green paint spill on surface or appears as spongy green mat on surface
3. DO NOT SWIM IN LAKES DIRECTLY AFTER ATYPICAL RAINFALL EVENTS:
The sanitary and stormwater sewers are two separate systems in the City of Orlando, meaning that stormwater enters natural waterways through storm drains, and sanitary sewage (wastewater) is transported for treatment to the wastewater plant. Despite this separation, following unusually heavy rainfall there is the potential for sanitary sewage overflow, which can carry bacteria from untreated sewage onto paved areas, into storm drains and into our lakes commonly used for recreational purposes.
In short, please delay your recreational activities at the lakes until 48 hours following an unusually heavy rainstorm, particularly those activities that involve people or pets entering the water directly or during which water could be swallowed (examples: jet skiing, water skiing or swimming). People who fish within the 48-hour window should wash their hands after touching the water. Anyone who wants to eat fish caught in the City lakes within the 48-hour window should cook them thoroughly to kill bacteria.
Why 48 hours? Over the 48 hours, lakes left standing without disturbance provides time for any bacteria to settle to the bottom, somewhat purifying the surface water.