It’s harmful and potentially deadly.
This year alone, instances of blue-green algae have been reported in several bodies of water, many that people use.
North Dakota’s health department wants to warn the public about this substance and, so far, are getting a lot of help.
Ben Smith has the story.
It’s a slimy, sometimes neon green substance.
It thrives in hot and drought years.
If it shows up in a lakes or reservoir near you, health officials say to keep your kids, and pets away.
“This year is kind of unprecedented in terms of the number of warnings and advisories that we’ve issued,” says Mike Ell, Department of Health
The health department issued one advisory in 2015, so far this year, there have been at least eight.
“We’re getting more and more reports of blooms, we’re following them with monitoring,” says Ell
He says it’s because people are more aware of the dangers of blue-green algae.
Recently the department posted signs around Harvey Lake in Wells county, where the latest case of blue-green algae was found.
“In terms of human exposure, we’ve had a couple of reports,” says Ell
This year, two people have fallen ill after coming into contact with the algae.
It can cause eye irritation, head aches, nausea and diarrhea.
It’s not just people that can be affected.
“It can kill animals and we just want the public to be aware if their animals are showing signs and they see pea green soup color please report that to the department of health,” says Dr. Susan Keller, ND Dept. of Agriculture.
Two dogs have died in connection with blue-green algae since 2010
Keller says livestock are also at risk if they drink from water where algae is present.
She says it’s always good to have an alternate source of water especially during years with drought.
Health officials say incidents of blue green algae are being reported more often than in years past.
If you have noticed blue-green algae, you can file a report on the dept. of health’s web page.