(WFLX) - We've seen it in our area time and time again -- a thick green ooze forming in Treasure Coast rivers.
This ooze is not only ugly but is also a health hazard. In fact, it's so bad right now, neighbors in one community are being told to stay away from the water.
The dreaded green goo, first recognized in 2005, is currently found along the North Fork of the St. Lucie River.
The Martin and St. Lucie County Health Departments say a resident first reported it back on May 19. Now, health departments are warning residents in this area to stay away from the water.
The problem is blamed on dirty fresh water released from Lake Okeechobee. That water is mixing with salt water causing the bacteria to form. It releases a toxin that kills fish and is a danger to humans and animals.
Contact with the algae can cause skin irritation and hay fever-like symptoms. Residents should also take precautions to prevent their dogs from wading in or drinking the water in that area.
Residents are asked to call the Department of Environmental Protection if you observe blue green algae in their community.