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DHS news release

Aug. 16, 2004

Contact: Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180

Technical contacts: Ken Kauffman, DHS (503)-731-4012; Roland Giller, USFS (541) 383-5653; Amy Markum, Klamath County (1-800) 378-4127

Health advisory lifted at Odell Lake

Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Klamath County Health Department today announced a joint decision to lift the health advisory at Odell Lake. Odell Lake is located in Klamath County about 70 miles southeast of Eugene.

"Water contact activities may safely resume, says Ken Kauffman, environmental specialist with DHS. The advisory was placed in effect in early June because of a severe blue-green algae bloom. Scientists had identified high concentrations of Anabaena flos aquae in the lake. This organism may produce toxins that affect the liver and nervous systems of animals and human beings.

Cell counts for this species of algae rose to levels above 330,000 cells per milliliter at the peak of the bloom. The DHS action level for this algae species is 15,000 cells per milliliter.

"The bloom appears to be over and sufficient time has passed for toxin levels to fall," Kaffuman said. Samples collected on August 2 showed concentrations ranging from about 4,000 to over 6,000 cells/ml. August 9 sample results ranged from zero to a high of 120 cells/ml. Generally after two weeks of low cell counts, advisories can be safely lifted.

USFS will continue to monitor the lake and the public will be advised if cell counts exceed the DHS action level again.

Additional information about blue green algae can be found here. Local information may be obtained by calling the Forest Service at (541) 383-5653 or Klamath County Health Department at (1-800) 378-4127.