Toxic algae blooms found in parts of Detroit Lake again, Oregon health officials warn
UPDATE: The Oregon Health Authority lifted the recreational use health advisory for Dorena Reservoir on June 22.
DETROIT, Ore. – Health officials re-issued an advisory for Detroit Lake Wednesday, just five days after lifting a similar advisory for toxic blue-green algae blooms in the water.
The Oregon Health Authority first issued the recreational health advisory for the lake on May 23. A short while later the City of Salem issued a “don’t drink” advisory for vulnerable groups after finding low levels of cyanotoxins in the tap water, which comes from the Detroit Reservoir.
The initial lake advisory was lifted on June 8, however, they re-issued the alert on Wednesday after again finding harmful algae that is above the recreational guidelines for cyanotoxins. OHA issued a similar advisory Wednesday for Dorena Lake.
Officials say people should avoid swallowing water while swimming, or inhaling droplets during high-speed activities like water skiing or power boating in algae bloom areas.
The algae blooms look like foamy, pea-green, blue-green, or brownish-red areas that are thick like paint. They can also be identified by small bright-green clumps floating in the water.
Children and pets are particularly at risk, OHA says, and people should keep a close eye on them when around water.
“Drinking water directly from Detroit Lake at this time is especially dangerous,” OHA said in a press release. “Campers and other recreational visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water with camping-style filters.”
Water from public drinking water systems goes through filtration and disinfection processes that can reduce algae toxins. Anyone getting their water from the lake should stop at once.
The toxins cannot be absorbed through the skin, however, some people might have a puffy red rash if they come in contact with the algae.
Exposure to toxins can produce a variety of symptoms including 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.
The OHA will issue another statement when the advisory is lifted.