Residents asked to stay away from toxic algae blooms - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Residents asked to stay away from toxic algae blooms

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Washington Ecology Department is warning residents near Lake Spokane to keep children and animals away from the water because of blooms of toxic blue-green algae.

A recent water sample shows extremely high concentrations of a toxin called microcystin. Ecology officials say although the sample was taken in Stevens County, residents say they see thick mats of algae throughout Lake Spokane, in Stevens and Spokane counties.

Ecology aquatic plant specialist Kathy Hamel warns the public to keep pets or livestock from drinking any scummy lake water. Algae blooms happen mostly in the summer or fall but can occur anytime.

The department says the blue-green algae blooms pose a human health concern and have killed pets and wildlife after exposure in some Washington lakes. No illnesses have been reported from the current bloom in Lake Spokane.

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