‘The toilet bowl of Tallahassee’: Lake Munson closed due to toxic algae

Lake Munson in southern Leon County is now closed off because of toxic algae on the water.
Lake Munson closed due to toxic algae.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 11:23 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Lake Munson in southern Leon County is now closed off because of toxic algae on the water.

The Department of Health issued another health alert Wednesday morning, urging people not to swim or boat there.

The DOH said tests show low-level toxins.

“I was shocked,” Terry Ryan, co-founder of the Tallahassee Sewage and Wakulla Basin Advocacy Group. “I was startled, to see the harmful algae blooms out here.”

According to the DOH, exposure to this algae can cause rashes, vomiting and respiratory irritation. High levels can even affect the liver and nervous system.

Local leaders say decades of efforts to clean up the lake just haven’t worked.

County Chairman Bill Proctor and City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow say it’s time to do more.

After our conversation Wednesday morning, Matlow contacted the city manager, asking for testing to identify the sources of pollution.

Proctor said he would speak with the county administrator.

“What the hell is going on?,” Proctor said. “That’s what I’m gonna be asking him.

For Terry Ryan and biologist Sean McGlynn, this problem is not new.

“Lake Munson has actually been the toilet bowl of the City of Tallahassee,” Ryan said.

McGlynn has been testing samples from Lake Munson for 30 years.

He says the water is slightly cleaner than it was back then, but still nowhere near where it should be. He’s worried about the effects on people who live nearby.

“It’s really a long-term exposure,” McGlynn said. “The people that live here for decades will show signs eventually.”

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