Toxic blue-green algae reported in several Kootenai County lakes

HAYDEN, Idaho — If you live near three lakes in Kootenai County, be aware that toxic blue-green algae has been reported in all of them.

Panhandle Health District (PHD) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued public health advisories Thursday for Cave and Hauser Lake, urging people to be cautious near the water.

Water quality monitoring found blue-green algae along the shorelines of both Cave and Hauser Lakes, including the east end of Hauser Lake and the public beach.

Earlier Thursday, PHD, DEQ and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe issued an advisory, warning people of toxic algae in all of Black Lake.

PHD said to take caution where the water looks discolored or murky. The algae can spread or move with wind and water currents. Pets, children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are most at-risk of harmful exposure from the blooms.

The algae can produce dangerous toxins, especially in high concentrations. PHD said the blooms can be unsightly. They’re often seen as discolored water, streaks or globs of scum and causing thick green mats along shorelines.

Those recreating in any of the three lake areas are advised to take precautions. For those who own private domestic water systems that use the lakes for drinking water, PHD said toxins can’t be removed by boiling or filtering the water.

For anyone who eats fish from them, PHD recommends removing all fat, skin and organs from the fish before cooking. They said toxins are more likely to collect in those areas.

If you come into contact with the algae, PHD advises to wash it off with fresh water. Symptoms can include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from drinking the tainted water. If symptoms persist, PHD said to consult with your health care provider.

The public will be notified when the concern over it no longer exists.

You can find updated information about the toxic algae here.

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