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Central District Health issues public health advisory for Cascade Reservoir due to algal bloom

Algal bloom 1
Algal Bloom 2
algal bloom 3
Posted at 4:44 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 18:44:17-04

VALLEY COUNTY, Idaho — A public health advisory has been issued for Cascade Reservoir by Central District Health due to a Harmful Algal Bloom, also known as cyanobacteria.

A press release from CDH says the health advisory was issued in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, which will continue conducting surveillance through satellite imagery, on-site observation and will continue weekly water sampling of the Cascade Reservoir.

People and animals can get sick if they swim, wade or play in or near water contaminated with Harmful Algal Blooms; this goes as well for eating contaminated fish, shellfish or using contaminated drinking water in any way.

What Precautions You Can Take

  • Avoid swimming, wading or other activities. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets and livestock are not exposed to the water.
  • Do not drink or cook with water containing a Harmful Algal Bloom. Boiling and filtering the water can increase the risk.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. The cyanotoxins in the bloom can accumulate in fish; the risk to people is being researched. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption. If people choose to eat fish from Cascade Reservoir, filet the fish and remove all the fat, skin and organs before cooking.
  • Clean with potable water as soon as possible if water contacts skin or pet fur.

Symptoms of Cyanotoxin Exposure

  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from directly ingesting contaminated water. If symptoms persist, CDH advises you to contact your healthcare provider. Blooms can vary in appearance, as evidenced by the pictures above; they can look like mats, foam, spilled paint or surface scum and can have a foul odor. While blooms can be seen in one area of recreational water, they can move around to different areas, water depths and can change in severity.

Common Indicators of a Harmful Algal Bloom include:

  • The water has foam, scum, algal mats or paint-like streaks on the surface
  • The water looks discolored
  • The water smells unusually bad

Protect Yourself and Your Pets:

When visiting bodies of water with Harmful Algal Blooms, look for any potential warning signage posted at kiosks or parking areas; signs likely won't be posted on beaches themselves, but around the area. You can also look at current advisories in place in Idaho through the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Harmful Algal Bloom webpage here.

If you see or suspect a bloom, stay out of the water. You cannot tell if a bloom is harmful by looking at it, so CDH says it's best to use caution and stay away.

You can learn more about identifying a Harmful Algal Bloom here.

Click here if you believe a body of water has a Harmful Algal Bloom.