Blue-Green Algae is Still a Big Concern in North Dakota

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North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality says we should still be on the lookout for blue-green algae.

It can produce toxins that can make people and animals sick.

The Department of Environmental Quality says the number of blue-green algae advisories and warnings have increased throughout the summer.

The NDDEQ tests waterbodies for these toxins and, if detected, they’ll issue a public advisory or warning. However, it can take time to receive test results, so people should avoid water that is discolored, scummy or smells bad.

Right now, 15 lakes in North Dakota are under blue-green algae advisories. Three of the lakes, Harmon Lake in Morton County, Larson Lake in Hettinger County and Froelich Dam in Sioux County, are under warnings.

A warning means people and animals should avoid any contact with the water. With an advisory, recreationists are still able to use the lake but should avoid areas where algae blooms are present.

Kirby Kruger, Section Chief for the NDDoH Medical Services says, “Symptoms may include diarrhea and vomiting; numb lips, tingling fingers, and toes; dizziness; or rashes, hives, and skin blisters…There are no known antidotes and in severe cases, cyanotoxins can even cause death. Special consideration should be given to children since they are at higher risk because of their smaller size.”

The NDDEQ recommends the following:
• Do not swim, water ski or boat where water is discolored or there is foam, scum or algae mats.
• Do not let pets or livestock swim in or drink from these areas.
• Do not irrigate lawns or golf courses with scummy or smelly pond or lake water.
• While fish are safe to consume, always wash your hands with non-lake water immediately after catching fish. Wash the fish thoroughly with tap water before cleaning.

To learn more or to report blue-green algae blooms, call the Division of Water Quality at 701-328-5210, or visit https://deq.nd.gov/WQ/3_Watershed_Mgmt/8_HABS/Habs.aspx.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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