Be on the look out for waters that look suspicious — foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red, or bright green cells suspended in the water column. When in doubt, stay out!
Health advisories for toxic algae levels have been issued for the following bodies of water in Oregon.
Upper Klamath Lake, located off Oregon Route 140, 15 miles west of Klamath Falls in Klamath County. 6.15.18
Dorena Reservoir, located six miles east of Cottage Grove in Lane County 6.13.18
The Row River downstream of Dorena Reservoir is the source of drinking water for the City of Cottage Grove. Drinking water samples at this time show no detections of toxins. If people connected to the City of Cottage Grove public water system have questions about treatment and testing, they should contact the water supplier directly. Drinking water directly from Dorena Reservoir at this time is especially dangerous. OHA Public Health Division officials advise campers and other recreational visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water with camping-style filters.
Detroit Lake, located 46 miles southeast of Salem 6.15.18
Water monitoring has again confirmed the presence of harmful algae above Oregon Health Authority recreational guideline values for cyanotoxins. At measured levels cyanotoxins can be harmful to humans and animals. Since May 29, Oregon Health Authority officials have been receiving daily samples for Detroit Lake from the City of Salem. It is unusual for the Harmful Algae Bloom Program to get daily samples. Typically, the program receives sample results for recreational bodies of water on a weekly basis. OHA's guidelines require the agency to issue an advisory whenever cyanotoxin levels exceed recreational guideline values. This more-frequent-than-usual sampling, along with daily changes in toxin levels measured in that daily sampling from Detroit Lake, is the reason recreational advisories have been issued and lifted so often for Detroit Lake. The drinking water advisory for vulnerable populations for the City of Salem will remain in place until the city is assured that toxins remain below OHA drinking water advisory values. The drinking water advisory levels for vulnerable populations are different for recreational use than for drinking water. The amount of water people incidentally swallow while recreating (swimming, water skiing, etc.) is much lower than when people use it as a primary drinking water source.
- South Umpqua River: Avoid water in pools of bedrock along the South Umpqua River and Lawson Bar.
Children and pets are particularly susceptible to this toxin
Exposure to toxins can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting should also receive medical attention if they persist or worsen. Children and pets are particularly susceptible.
Swallowing or inhaling water droplets should be avoided, as well as skin contact with water by humans or animals. Drinking water from these bodies of water is especially dangerous. Oregon Public Health officials advise campers and other visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters.
Oregon Public Health recommends that people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking since toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues. Additionally, public health officials advise that people should not eat crayfish or freshwater shellfish harvested from these bodies of water while this advisory is in effect.
A hazard for dogs
Dogs have become very sick and even died after swimming in and swallowing water affected by toxic algae. If you find thick, brightly colored foam or scum at a lake, pond or river, don’t let your pet drink or swim in the water. Avoid contact with the water, as toxins can be absorbed through the skin.
Symptoms in dogs
Exposure to toxic blue-green algae can result in:
- Weakness or collapse
- Nausea, vomiting
- Excessive drooling
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Shaking, trembling
- Tremors, rigidity, paralysis
If your dog goes into the water:
- Don’t let your pet lick its fur.
- Wash your pet with clean water as soon as possible.
- If your dog has symptoms such as drooling, weakness, vomiting, staggering and convulsions after being in water, seek immediate veterinary care. Acute, life-threatening symptoms from cyanobacterial toxins often develop rapidly. Death can occur within minutes to hours after exposure.
For more information, contact the Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance program at (971) 673-0400.