Monday, August 18, 2014

Advisories about toxic algae are common summer occurrence in lakes that supply public water systems

Recent instances of toxic algae blooms that have led to water advisories in Toledo, Wisconsin, and brought fear to Des Moines, are a common late-summer occurrence that can affect any drinking water supply that relies on lakes. Stories shouldn't wait for local warnings and advisories; check with your local water-system operators to see how they are dealing with the threat. Besides drinking water, stories can also include suggestions about ways to avoid algae-fouled water, or what to do after coming into contact it.

In Kentucky, 10 lakes that provide drinking water for thousands of people are under advisories, James Bruggers reports for The Courier-Journal in Louisville. "None is closed to swimming, fishing or boating. Instead, authorities advise not swallowing lake water, and washing well after swimming." State officials said there are currently no immediate threats to drinking the water.

Kansas also has 10 public waters under a warning and one under an advisory. In addition to the basic advisories, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment also suggests to avoid areas with visible algae accumulation.properly clean fish, not let pets consume dried algae, and immediately wash any parts of skin or fur that come into contact with water. (Read more)

Oregon has two advisories, one in Devil's Lake that has been in effect since Aug. 1 and another in Waterville Pond that has been in effect since Aug. 5, says the state Public Health Division. Two other advisories were issued this summer, one in Lost Creek Lake that ran for 22 days, ending on June 26, the other in Odell Lake, that lasted for 18 days, ending on Aug. 8. (Read more) (Public Health Division map: Current and earlier advisories)

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