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Old 13-07-2016, 19:00   #1
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Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

Seeking knowledge about toxic algae in Stuart, FL and if it might do damage to water pumps for AC on boats sitting in port.
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Old 14-07-2016, 03:42   #2
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Soozell.
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Old 14-07-2016, 05:52   #3
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

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Originally Posted by Soozell View Post
Seeking knowledge about toxic algae in Stuart, FL and if it might do damage to water pumps for AC on boats sitting in port.
Algae is toxic to some living things because it depletes the oxygen in the water. Some algae is toxic because of its chemical makeup. But your AC unit doesn't care about that because it isn't alive.

Algae can clog up the strainer and then the AC will shut down because the water flow is too low. This usually causes a high pressure trip on the compressor. It is not fatal and either will reset automatically or you have to press a reset button somewhere.
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Old 14-07-2016, 06:24   #4
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

Thank you both for your replies and welcome.

The comment about the algae being toxic to living things vs mechanical things makes sense, of course. We are considering the purchase of a boat that has been sitting in the toxic algae waters in Stuart. There is enough to consider when you're buying a boat. Toxic algae just adds to the anxiety.

My question, more specifically, is whether the algae circulating and/or clogging the strainers will a) create toxic fumes inside the boat, b) leave remnants that have to be disinfected in some way, c) leave residue in the lines like plaque-ridden veins, or d) other potential issues we will face as humans dealing with the a toxic substance. Also, has anyone seen any affects of the algae on bottom paint and the hull?

Many thanks!
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Old 14-07-2016, 06:29   #5
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

Red Tides are a part of living in Fl, I have seen no effect from boating systems from it.
I have a few dock mates that say it makes it harder for them to breathe, and I do think maybe I get that a little, but it's not as bad a Pollen to me.
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Old 14-07-2016, 06:34   #6
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

Algae forms a layer of dead cells on antifoul which then builds up quickly allowing other forms of beasties to grow on your hull. All removable by a diver or lifting out and pressure washing. Barnacles are a little more difficult as the cement used to attach themselves to your hull is astonishingly good at doing what its supposed to do, unfortunately. Removal will required a piece of 4" x 4" wood and some violence.

Ultimately its not the end of the world, just requires a bit of graft and hard work to fix.

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Old 14-07-2016, 06:42   #7
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

My Father who passed years ago was a Dentist, according to him a Holy Grail of Dentistry was to develop an adhesive that was as effective as a Barnacle's, apparently in a wet environment, it is the most effective adhesive in existence.
I have no idea whether an adhesive as good has ever been perfected, but maybe 5200 comes close
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Old 14-07-2016, 06:43   #8
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

The algae in question, which I am led to believe are not 'red tide' species, are actually mostly toxic when they die. Once the algae bloom to the point where their numbers exceed the nutrients available, they die, rot and fall to the bottom, they take up bottom-water oxygen, and that hypoxia/anoxia kills benthic creatures, and the cycle continues.

Unless you're allergic to cyanobacterial algae.

The process happening in Fla. sounds almost identical to what happens in the 'dead zone' area off Louisiana and Texas, where nutrient loading from agriculture which flushes down the Mississippi River causes algal blooming in the north central Gulf.
Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico


Since the event is happening in Florida, it gets hype.

Not just happening in Fla and north Gulf, either; happens inland in Wisconsin, Great Lakes, pretty much anywhere there's mass-production agriculture.

"Red tide" species = dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algal_bloom
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Old 14-07-2016, 06:50   #9
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

This is not red algae. It is microcystis, a type of blue-green algae that often contains toxins. I will have to research the difference, but if you have info, would greatly appreciate.
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Old 14-07-2016, 06:58   #10
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

Unfortunately, my quick Net search only got news sources, not published peer reviewed data, so I wouldn't comment on the species for the particular bloom in question other than to say it's 'blue-green.'

there is more than one cyanobacterial species possibility... best I can tell

Florida FWC:
Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria)

Indicates toxicity takes direct contact unlike the aerosolic nature of red algal blooming.

FTA: "Health Threats
There are three main types of cyanotoxins in Florida's freshwater systems: hepatotoxins (affecting the liver), neurotoxins (affecting the nervous system), or dermatotoxins (causing topical skin irritations).
To date, very few cases of human illness related cyanobacteria incidents have been reported in the U.S. In Florida's freshwater systems, some toxic cyanobacteria such as Microcystis, commonly form blooms that can, on occasion, appear in lakes and rivers and in reservoir waters destined for drinking water use. These water treatment plants are designed to remove bad odors and taste associated with blue-green algae blooms and to extract toxins from the source water.
Recreational exposure by direct contact with a cyanobacteria bloom from activities such as jet-skiing, boating, and swimming have been reported to cause hay fever-like symptoms (itchy eyes, sore throat, congestion) and dermal reactions (skin rashes, blistering) at high concentrations. Ingesting contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal distress (diarrhea, abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting). Low level chronic exposure of contaminates through water or fish have yet to be studied.
The risks of cyanotoxins to natural resources remain relatively unknown. Health problems may occur in animals if they are chronically exposed to fresh water with cyanotoxins.
Livestock and domestic animals can be poisoned by drinking contaminated water, and fish and bird deaths have been reported in Florida water bodies with persistent cyanobacteria blooms.
It is important to remember these toxins have no known antidotes and cannot be removed by boiling."
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Old 14-07-2016, 07:09   #11
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

Good info. The algae has been confirmed in some locations to be what was referred to in your research as "toxic cyanobacteria such as Microcystis, (which) commonly form blooms that can, on occasion, appear in lakes and rivers."

Would you agree that a thorough flush of some chlorine/acid/barnacle buster solution would kill/remove anything in the lines?
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Old 14-07-2016, 11:53   #12
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

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Originally Posted by Soozell View Post
Good info. The algae has been confirmed in some locations to be what was referred to in your research as "toxic cyanobacteria such as Microcystis, (which) commonly form blooms that can, on occasion, appear in lakes and rivers."

Would you agree that a thorough flush of some chlorine/acid/barnacle buster solution would kill/remove anything in the lines?
The water in your A/C coolant lines will not contaminate your boat. There is no more danger inside your boat than there is outside. I would stop worrying about your A/C system. I would not bother to flush it out unless it is not efficiently cooling the boat. The chemicals you mention such as barnacle buster contain acids so be careful with them.

BTW, blue green algae is an often over-hyped form of toxic algae. Almost all water contains microsystin in some concentration. People have been swimming in waters containing blue green algae for centuries. It has only recently become common to measure smaller concentrations of such algae (e.g. 0.1 parts per million). So it depends on the specific concentration in the water and a person's immune system as to whether it is truly a danger to health. For the vast majority of people and common concentrations this algae is not a health hazard.
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Old 14-07-2016, 12:32   #13
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soozell View Post
Thank you both for your replies and welcome.

The comment about the algae being toxic to living things vs mechanical things makes sense, of course. We are considering the purchase of a boat that has been sitting in the toxic algae waters in Stuart. There is enough to consider when you're buying a boat. Toxic algae just adds to the anxiety.

My question, more specifically, is whether the algae circulating and/or clogging the strainers will a) create toxic fumes inside the boat, b) leave remnants that have to be disinfected in some way, c) leave residue in the lines like plaque-ridden veins, or d) other potential issues we will face as humans dealing with the a toxic substance. Also, has anyone seen any affects of the algae on bottom paint and the hull?

Many thanks!
Soozel do be very careful with this algae .Treat it as deadly .I read an article about the possibility that this type of algae can cause paralysis .Not temporary but permanent and progressive deterioration of the nervous system and that includes of course the brain.
They seem to think that even sportsmen who come into contact with water on a playing field can get it from that source .We have in South Africa an ex Springbok rugby player by the name of van der Westhuizen who has been smitten so tragically by this disease and can no longer do anything for himself .I am sure you can google to find out more.
Yeah I had a look at the pics of that green gunge and it looks really ghastly and foreboding of a lot more to come if we look at the level of pollution now and how it is likely to still increase.
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Old 14-07-2016, 15:56   #14
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

Cyanobacteria is also a big problem here in California, I sail on Clear Lake which is anything but clear. I spent last night anchored in a cove and this morning it was so thick that it looked like the surface of the water had been painted with a roller full of green paint. The only reason I knew it was toxic is from a recent lecture from a biologist that said there has been only one death of a dog because the dog licked himself dry. That was enough to poison it. The vapors from stirred up water can also be toxic. Maybe all of those %&*# jet skiers will breath enough to feel like going home. There was also another report of a dog poisoning near the Russian River from the same thing. We are hoping that the possible end of the drought will change the ecosystem enough to reduce the problem. ______Grant.
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Old 14-07-2016, 16:12   #15
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Re: Toxic Algae effect on water pumps etc.

Oh my...what are you Americans doing to your environment?
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