Health Advisory Issued For Hauser Lake Shoreline - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Health Advisory Issued For Hauser Lake Shoreline

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: Blue-green algae has been identified in water samples along the shorelines of Hauser Lake, prompting the  Panhandle Heath District and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to issue a health advisory against swallowing, inhaling, or coming in direct contact with areas of the lake where algae is visible.

Blue-green algae are naturally occurring, microscopic bacteria that can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals.

Drinking water from the lake is especially dangerous, and children and pets are particularly susceptible. The toxins cannot be removed by boiling or filtering the water.

People and animals who drink or swim in water that contains high concentrations of cyanobacteria or cyanobacterial toxins may experience gastroenteritis, skin irritation, allergic responses, or liver damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These symptoms are rare, but if they persist or worsen, people should seek medical attention.

The public will be advised when the concern no longer exists.

Current water and weather conditions are favorable for blooms in this region, and until weather conditions cool,  contact with waters with visible surface scum should be avoided.  With proper precautions to avoid water contact, people are encouraged to enjoy other activities near the lake including camping, hiking, biking, catch and release fishing and bird watching.

Many species of blue-green algae occur in Idaho surface waters, but only some release toxins under certain conditions. Blooms occur in waters with high levels of nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen.

The physical appearance of blue-green algae blooms can be unsightly, often causing thick green mats along shorelines. Often excess nutrients associated with algae blooms are caused by pollution from human activities.

DEQ and agency partners continue to work with residents and landowners to implement nutrient reduction projects. The  Hauser Lake Watershed Coalition actively promotes  the Lake-A-Syst program, which provides lakeside landowners with information and tools to reduce nutrient inputs from their properties. While blooms occur naturally water quality improvements can be expected to reduce future frequency and magnitude of algae blooms.

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