Health advisory issued for Moses Lake due to toxic algae - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Health advisory issued for Moses Lake due to toxic algae

Posted: Updated:
MOSES LAKE, Wash. -

Update: The Grant County Health District is now advising the public to avoid contact with Moses Lake in all areas after samples came back with high toxin levels for blue-green algae.

Samples were taken Monday from Blue Heron Park, Montlake Park, Connelly Park and the Sand Dunes to test the spread of blue-green algae. GCHD says it's likely blue-green algae is present in all parts of Moses Lake.

GCHD will continue testing the lake weekly until sample results show toxins are below the Washington state recreational guidelines. Warning signs are posted around Moses Lake until it is clear of toxic algae.

GCHD is advising:

  • Avoid all contact with Moses Lake water areas
  • Including recreational water activities (skiing, wakeboarding, etc.)
  • Do not drink the lake water
  • Keep all pets & livestock away from the lake water
  • Clean fish caught in Moses Lake well and discard their guts

If you are a private citizen and wish to sample the lake in your area, please see sampling and testing instructions here.

Health & Safety Information:

The type of blue-green algae that is present in Moses Lake produce Microcystin toxin, which can cause serious illness in people, pets, and livestock.

  • Symptoms may take 30 minutes to 24 hours to appear, depending upon the size of the person or animal affected and the amount of toxic bloom consumed. Microcystin toxicosis may include jaundice, shock, abdominal pain/distention, weakness, nausea/vomiting, severe thirst, rapid/weak pulse and death.

Previous coverage: The Grant County Health District says residents should avoid contact with water in Moses Lake from the WDFW North Moses Lake Boat Launch south to Connelly Park where recent test results show blue-green algae is present.

What is Blue-Green Algae Bloom?

These algae grow rapidly in fresh water when there is enough sunlight, high temperatures, and nutrients in the water. It often looks like green paint floating on the water. It is common for Grant County waters to have blue-green algae in the summer and fall, but not all blue-green algae blooms are toxic.

However, there are types of blue-green algae that produce toxins (or poisons) which can cause serious illness in people, pets, and livestock.

  • People who come in contact with this poisonous algae may feel numbness of lips, tingling in fingers and toes, dizziness, stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • Pet owners should not allow their pets to play in or drink water where blue-green algae are present as these toxins can kill pets.

What are the signs of toxic blue-green algae?

  • Large number of dead fish, birds, or other animals.
  • Sudden and unexplained sickness or death of a dog or cat who has recently been in contact with fresh water such as a lake or pond, especially if it has algae on its mouth, legs or feet.
  • People can develop skin rashes after being in the water or become ill.

What to do if you see blue-green algae?
As soon as you see a bloom or possible signs of poisoning:

  • Avoid all contact with the water.
  • Keep pets and livestock away from the water.
  • Call the Grant County Health District at 509-766-7960 and report the location.
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