Lake Washington is an important source of drinking water to numerous cities and towns in the Melbourne region. Between July and August of 2019, Lake Washington experienced an algal bloom of the toxin producing cyanobacteria Dolichospermum circinale. Links between biosolid applications and harmful algal blooms have been investigated elsewhere in Florida. On October 8, 2019, the Brevard County Commission voted to place a six-month moratorium on the expanded application of biosolids. In support of Brevard County’s Biosolid Moratorium, Brevard County Natural Resources Management (BCNRM) contracted with Applied Ecology, Inc. to conduct a limited survey to determine levels of nutrients, metals, and emerging contaminants in water and vegetation in and around Lake Washington, including the Deer Park Ranch. Results from this present study will be used by the Commission to guide further regulatory action.
Eleven locations were sampled for surface water between December 18-19, 2019, including five residential sampling locations east of Lake Washington, one location in Lake Washington, one location in the St. Johns River between Sawgrass Lake and Lake Washington and two locations southwest (upstream) of Lake Washington near where Class B biosolid applications have occurred and two locations in Jane Green swamp upstream of where biosolids have not been applied. In addition, three sites in the Deer Park Ranch were selected to sample plant tissue for pharmaceuticals.
Results from this present study will be used by the Commission to guide further regulatory action. To learn more about the project and its results, head over to our Brevard County Biosolids Moratorium Sampling page, the article featured in Florida Today, or click here to view the full report!