Toxic blue-green algal bloom found at Magic Reservoir

Photo  Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
Photo Idaho Department of Environmental Quality(KMVT)
Published: Oct. 5, 2016 at 12:43 PM MDT
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Authorities are warning the public of unhealthy levels of a toxic algae found at Magic Reservoir.

Authorities are warning the public of an unhealthy levels of a toxic algae found at Magic Reservoir.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and South Central Public Health District issued a health advisory for Magic Reservoir on Monday. DEQ detected high levels of Microcystins – a certain species of blue-green algal bloom and often referred to as Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) – that can be harmful to humans and animals.

A sample taken on Sept. 9 from the Lava Point in Blaine County County indicated an average Microcystin level of 136 micrograms per liter of water. According to the World Health Organization, a Microcystin level higher than 20 micrograms per liter of water presents a “high risk” for recreational water users.

Health officials will post advisory notices in the area of Lava Point; however, recreational water users should take precautions when accessing the water anywhere in the reservoir, as algal blooms are likely to be present in other locations.

Health officials are advising recreational water users take the following precautions:

• Anglers should only consume the fillet portion of the fish (remove the fat, organs, and skin). Wash hands after handling. The risk associated with consuming fish caught in waters with a blue-green algae bloom is unknown. Toxins produced by blue-green algae can accumulate in the organs of fish.

• Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water where algal blooms exist.

• Do not consume water with algal blooms. Neither boiling nor disinfecting removes blue-green algae toxins from water.

In August, health officials warned the public of blue-green algae that was found at Mormon Reservoir.

Josh Jensen, the public health program manager with South Central Public Health District, said children and pets are particularly susceptible.

“Exposure to the toxins produced by cyanobacterial HABs may result in life-threatening liver damage, neurological problems such as muscle spasms, decreased movement, labored breathing, convulsions, and possible death,” Jensen said in a news release.