TWIN FALLS COUNTY — The South Central Public Health District (SCPHD) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are issuing a public health advisory for Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir. The DEQ said results from water testing on July 1 show levels of a cyanotoxin, Microcystin, are now at unhealthy levels because of a recent cyanobacteria harmful algal bloom (HAB) in the reservoir.
The public is advised to take the following steps to protect their health:
- Avoid exposure to water in reservoirs under a HAB health advisory. Make sure children, pets and livestock are not exposed to the water.
- Do not drink water with a HAB advisory. Boiling and disinfecting DO NOT remove toxins from water.
- Do not allow pets to eat dried algae
- If fishing in HAB water, remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking. Toxins are more likely to collect in those tissues. Wash hands after handling.
“Children and pets are especially at risk,” said SCPHD Public Health Program Manager Josh Jensen. “These toxins can cause acute health effects in humans such as eye, ear, and skin irritation as well as gastrointestinal distress, and they can severely affect neurological systems.”
HABs are not unusual in warm summer months and typically shrink quickly as the water temperature drops in mid to late fall. SCPHD will update when DEQ tests show safe cyanotoxin levels again.