How to spot toxic blue-green algae

Officials are warning people to take caution as the warmer weather causes harmful algae to bloom

Blue-green algae in the Foster Reservoir, Sept. 6, 2013 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
Blue-green algae in the Foster Reservoir, Sept. 6, 2013 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Officials are warning the public about a dangerous algae that blooms when the weather warms up.

The Oregon Health Authority says that blue-green algae has harmful toxins in it. It can appear scummy and foamy and green in color.

The Army Corps of Engineers released the information ahead of the summer as it will no longer regularly test for blue-green algae blooms at access points in the Willamette River Basin, the Lost Creek Reservoir, and the Willow Creek Reservoir. They are warning people to be alert to its presence.

They have installed awareness signs at access points to warning the public of what to be on the look out for.

The algae is found in bodies of water, including lakes, reservoirs, ditches, ponds, streams and rivers.

The toxins can cause diarrhea, nausea, cramps, fainting, numbness, dizziness, tingling and paralysis if swallowed or inhaled. Skin contact can cause rashes or irritation.

 

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