Florida In State Of Emergency Over Toxic Algae Bloom, Or Is It Just ‘Toilet’ Water?

Florida is a veritable hotbed for crazy, which can make cutting through the static to find out what really matters and what is truly taking place there quite the challenge. It seems like every day there is some new crazy story coming out of Florida. Today, it is ‘Guacamole-Thick’ Algae Causes Crisis on Florida Coastline, Governor Declares State of Emergency.

Perhaps this is the nature of media hysteria, but I can’t say that I am surprised that this story is being treated as a sort of mystery. Between the mainstream media coverage of what happens in The Sunshine State on a daily basis and the distraught political nature of Florida, there is indeed a State of Emergency.

Nowadays commercial media is so convoluted it can be hard to know what to believe. With news agencies caring less about reporting news these days and more about sensationalizing events to further their internet virility as well as their television ratings, it should come as no surprise that the media-matrix at large is inundated with fluff stories and PRopaganda.

Now don’t get me wrong I like to feel warm and fuzzy as much as the next person, but when it comes to important issues such as this, reporting should not dance around the issues to placate the populace. Reporting should be investigative and not sensationalist.

Lets cut to the chase…

Water quality is affected by chemical run-off that makes it to the sea. The ocean, while it seems so vast, had long been a dumping ground for much of the waste produced on land. From solids to chemicals and even nuclear products, waste has been dumped in the ocean with the mindset that it will eventually disperse and become harmless.

It is not harmless though, and can become even more concentrated and dangerous after entering the food chain. Even when humans aren’t directly dumping waste into the oceans though, toxic chemicals are still making their way to the sea.

Fertilizers, pesticides, and other products often make it to waterways through chemical run-off or fall from the skies in the form of acid rains. These chemicals can seep into the soil and travel for long distances, eventually reaching the oceans where they can be carried by currents. The consequential algal blooms are becoming a global phenomenon.

Algal blooms are caused by an over abundance of nitrogen and phosphorus which can even be trigger by our very own human excretions, and with population on the exponential rise, we face a truly unique sewage problem as a species.

The Palmbeach Post reports:

“A slimy, spooky substance called blue-green algae is making a prominent shoreline appearance — the worst ever, say some experts — that closed a few Treasure Coast beaches and even creeped its way south into Jupiter, sparking fears from business people, environmentalists and politicians.”

“This is a catastrophe,” said Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, a member of ther Sewall’s Point town commission. “This is the first time we have had to close beaches due to algae in Martin County. This should scare people.”

Despite TPbP’s apparent attempt at fear baiting, these algal blooms have become the unfortunate reality in Martin County, Fla. and other areas of the state, where they have caused rivers, and now beaches, to be closed to swimmers. Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared an emergency on Thursday, June 30th because the water in the area, known locally as the “Treasure Coast,” is too polluted for swimming.

Although this may be the first time beaches in Martin County have been closed due to algae, it is not the first time Florida has dealt with this pollution problem.

Local industry has long been using Okeechobee’s waters as a dumping ground for an assortment of chemicals, fertilizers, and cattle manure. David Guest, managing attorney of the Florida branch of the environmental law group Earthjustice, called the lake a “toilet.” While the pollution was once confined to the lake, it now flows toward Florida’s coastal communities via local rivers.

In 2013, the last time a significant water discharge occurred in southern Florida, locals dubbed the season the “lost summer,” due to the downturn in tourism and beach-going as a result of the polluted coastal water. In 2015, FloridaRealtors, a trade organization representing the Florida real estate industry, commissioned a study assessing the impact of water pollution on home values in Martin County, Florida. The results were alarming. During the “lost summer,” aggregate real estate value fell half a billion dollars, as potential buyers were reluctant to buy or invest in property that was near water that was both toxic and objectively disgusting.


Aerial view of polluted waters caused by last Okeechobee discharge, dubbed the “Lost Summer,” in 2013

Scott issued Executive Order 16-155 declaring an emergency in Martin and St. Lucie counties Wednesday, according to a statement, but added Lee and Plam Beach counties a day later. The executive order allows state and local governments to take action against the spread of the algal blooms by redirecting the water flow in and out of Lake Okeechobee, which many believe are to blame for the foul-smelling algae that one resident described to the Associated Press as “guacamole-thick.”

Governor Rick Scott placed the blame for the algae squarely on the Federal government.

“The state, as you know, doesn’t have any control over Lake Okeechobee,” he told WPTV on Tuesday. “The federal government has got to put the money in to be able to hold more water there when we have a rainy year like we have now.”


Lake Okeechobee can be seen from space. This massive dumping ground for chemicals and fertilizers is a prominent polluter of Florida’s coastal communities.

“This is our Deep Water Horizon,” Doug Smith, a commissioner in Martin County, told the Palm Beach Post, referencing the devastating BP oil spill in 2010.

“It’s time the federal and state government understand how God-awful the problem is here,” said Martin County Commissioner Doug Smith, referencing the 2010 oil spill that devastated wildlife along the Gulf of Mexico.

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