High temperatures boost chance of bacteria exposure in lakes and ponds

Posted at 10:01 PM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-10 00:16:31-04

With temps this high, what better way to cool off than with a dip in our local ponds and lakes. Just ask 9-year-old Kamron Banks.

"It's too hot to pretty much do anything, so I like to swim because the water cools you down," Banks said.

But the Environmental Protection Agency says warmer temperatures prevent water from mixing, allowing small organisms to move through it-- creating a prime environment for toxic blue-green algae to thrive.

"Algal blooms are bacteria that can release toxins that can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock," said Christine Myron, Public Information Officer at Central District Health Department,

And two popular recreational ponds have now been reopened after detection of this algae.

"From year to year we kinda see some bodies of water that just are more, more um commonly having these harmful algae blooms," said Myron.

Algae in both ponds were declared non-toxic, but in increasing temps, how can we be sure that we won't get sick?

"It's somewhat concerning, when, you know, something opens up, and they've got some problems," said Tana Dirienzo, swimmer at Esther Simplot Park.

Central district health works closely with the department of environmental quality and agencies who manage bodies of water. Myron says they are typically very responsive.

"We have a response plan in place for harmful algae blooms, specifically that talk about public notification and communication," she said.

And for avid swimmers like Banks...

"It's really fun to jump off the dock because I'm a really good swimmer!"

Myron has some words of advice: read all posted signs and...

"Know before you go. When in doubt, stay out."