Authorities are warning the public to stay away from parts of the Hillsborough River, due to blooms of toxic blue-green algae | Tampa Bay News | Tampa

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Photo by Colin Wolf

The Hillsborough River as seen from the Lettuce Lake Lookout Tower.

Watch where you are swimming.

According to Hillsborough County health officials, harmful blue-green algae blooms were discovered in the Hillsborough River area north of Morris Bridge Road and west of I-75 on August 4.

The Florida Department of Health (FDH) has since issued a health alert and warns the public to stay away from infected areas.

“Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions: do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water skis or boats in waters where there is a visible bloom,” the notice reads. “Wash your skin and clothes with soap and water if you come in contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.”

Blue-green algae blooms are common in Florida, especially during the summer, due to the combination of intense heat and nutrient-rich waters. These flowers discolor waterways, emit odors and produce toxins that can sicken people and animals and harm the environment in which they live.

For more information on the potential health effects of algal blooms, visit the Florida Health website. VSall the free hotline at 855-305-3903 to report a bloom.

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