E. COLI HEALTH ADVISORY LIFTED FOR LAKE LOWELL; CYANOBACTERIA ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF LAKE LOWELL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In conjunction with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Southwest District Health has lifted the E. coli Health Advisory for the Lake Lowell Lower Dam Recreation Area that was issued August 8, 2018. DEQ officials collected samples over a 30-day period and have confirmed that E. coli levels are below the safety threshold as described in Idaho’s water quality standards.

Please note that the health advisory for high concentrations of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, remains in effect for all of Lake Lowell. Samples continue to indicate that toxin-producing cyanobacteria are present and may cause illness to humans and animals.

Other blooms may exist on this waterbody that have not been reported to DEQ or the health district. Water users should always exercise caution around water bodies with visible slime or surface scum or a foul odor. High concentrations of toxin-producing blue-green algae may cause illness to both humans and animals. Report any concerns to DEQ at 208.373.0550.

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/blue-green-algae/.

 

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Chase Cusack, DEQ                         208.373.0490              Chase.Cusack@deq.idaho.gov

Katrina Williams, SWDH               208.455.5317              Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov

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HEALTH ADVISORY ISSUED FOR COTTONWOOD PARK AND CAMPGROUND AT C.J. STRIKE RESERVOIR

Public Health Advisory

Elevated levels of cyanobacteria could be harmful to people, pets and livestock

Owyhee Co., ID — In cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for the Cottonwood Park and Campground at C.J. Strike Reservoir related to elevated levels of cyanobacteria that could be harmful to people, pets and livestock.

High counts of cyanobacteria can create a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB), which can release harmful toxins. Given the high counts of cyanobacteria at the Cottonwood Park and Campground, conditions are right for a HAB to occur. People and their pets are advised to stay out of the water in this part of the reservoir, located at the Bruneau delta on the south side of the reservoir.

Cyanobacteria occur naturally and blooms occur in waters with high levels of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. “Whenever you are recreating in any kind of surface water, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, whether or not there is an advisory in place,” said Chase Cusack, a Watershed Coordinator with Idaho’s DEQ Boise regional office. “While harmful algal blooms aren’t always obvious to the eye, people can look for things like a green or blue-green layer on top of the water that might look like paint, or thick mats, especially along the shoreline. If you suspect a harmful algal bloom, you should report it to the DEQ.”

Areas with high levels of cyanobacteria may also be white or brown in color and look like surface scum, resembling pea soup, and can have an unpleasant odor or stench.

SWDH and DEQ advise the following precautions where high counts of cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms are known to be present:

  • Humans and animals should stay out of the affected water. Swimming, wading, or other activities with full body contact of pond water should be avoided.
  • Humans, pets, and livestock should not drink the affected water.
  • Fish should be cleaned and rinsed with clean water. Only the fillet portion should be consumed. All other parts should be discarded.
  • Pets and livestock are vulnerable to cyanobacteria and their toxins and should stay out of water where blooms are visible. Pets and livestock can be exposed to cyanobacteria and their toxins through drinking, swimming, or self-grooming by licking their wet coat or paws. A reaction will likely require immediate veterinary attention.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If affected water contacts skin or pet fur, wash with clean potable water as soon as possible.
  • Areas of visible algae accumulation should be avoided.

Symptoms of Exposure

People who are exposed to water with high concentrations of cyanobacteria or cyanotoxins may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, allergic responses, liver damage, or neurotoxic reactions such as tingling fingers and toes. Anyone with symptoms should seek medical attention. Boiling or filtering the water will not remove cyanotoxins.

More Information on Cyanobacteria and HABs

For more information about cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms, including a map of advisories currently in effect throughout Idaho, visit DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/recreation-health-advisories/

Additional Resources
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) – Harmful Algal Blooms Webpage
Idaho Power – C.J. Strike Recreation Area

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Contacts:
Katrina Williams, Media Contact
Southwest District Health

Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
desk (208) 455-5317 | cell (208) 899-1268

Chase Cusack, Watershed Coordinator
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ)
Boise Regional Office
desk (208) 373-0490   | chase.cusack@deq.idaho.gov

 

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BLUE-GREEN ALGAE – LAKE LOWELL

Public Health Advisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, Southwest District Health (SWDH) is issuing a health advisory for Lake Lowell. Recent samples taken from the lake indicate that toxin-producing cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, are present and may cause illness to humans and animals.

Cyanobacteria occur naturally, but high concentrations of blue-green algae can form a bloom under the right conditions, such as high levels of nutrients. Under certain conditions, some types of cyanobacteria can release toxins into the water that are harmful to people, pets, and livestock. The blooms are generally green, or blue-green, and may form thick mats along shorelines. These may look like a surface scum resembling pea soup and can have an unpleasant odor.

SWDH, DEQ and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service advise the following precautions be taken at Lake Lowell while the bloom is known to be present:

  • Humans, pets, and livestock should not drink the reservoir water.
  • Humans and animals should stay out of the reservoir. Swimming, wading, or other activities with full body contact of reservoir water should be avoided.
  • Fish should be cleaned and rinsed with clean water. Only the fillet portion should be consumed. All other parts should be discarded.
  • Pets and livestock should stay out of water where blooms are visible. Pets and livestock can be exposed through drinking, swimming, or self-grooming by licking their wet coat or paws. A reaction will likely require immediate veterinary attention.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If reservoir water contacts skin or pet fur, wash with clean potable water as soon as possible.
  • Areas of visible algae accumulation should be avoided.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are exposed to water with high concentrations of cyanobacteria may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, allergic responses, liver damage, or neurotoxic reactions such as tingling fingers and toes. Symptoms in humans are rare, but anyone with symptoms should seek medical attention. Boiling or filtering the water will not remove the toxins.

Lake Lowell is part of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For more information about harmful algal blooms, visit DEQ’s website at http://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/surface-water/recreation-health-advisories/

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Chase Cusack, DEQ
Chase.Cusack@deq.idaho.gov
208.373-0490

Katrina Williams, SWDH
Katrina.Williams@phd3.idaho.gov
208.455.5317 (office)
208.899.1268 (cell)

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