November 27, 2018
Testing confirms reduced cyanotoxins in Klamath County water bodies
PORTLAND, Ore.--The Oregon Health Authority has lifted recreational use health advisories issued Aug. 3 for Upper Klamath Lake and Aug. 30 for Keno Dam Reservoir.
Upper Klamath Lake is located off Oregon Route 140, 15 miles west of Klamath Falls, andKeno Dam Reservoir is located about 12 miles southwest of Klamath Falls on Oregon Highway 66, the Green Springs Highway. Both water bodies are in Klamath County.
Water monitoring has confirmed that the level of cyanotoxins (harmful algae toxins) in both Klamath County water bodies are below recreational guideline values for human exposure. However, the cyanotoxin level in areas of Upper Klamath Lake can remain above the OHA guideline value for dogs, so health officials recommend keeping pets out of areas thatlook suspicious.
Although the advisory has been lifted and the sampling season has ended, conditions can change rapidly due to changes in weather and nutrients. People should always be aware that blooms can develop on any water body under the right environmental conditions and can grow and disappear throughout the season.
People should always be aware of their surroundings before entering a water body, especially around shorelines, shallow water areas, coves and physical structures such as docks, as these are areas where blooms tend to develop, officials say. You are your own best advocate when it comes to keeping you, your family and your pets safe while at these water bodies.
People, especially small children, and pets should avoid recreating in areas where the water is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red in color, if a thick mat of cyanobacteria is visible in the water, or bright green cells are suspended in the water column. If you observe these signs in the water, you are encouraged to avoid activities that cause you to swallow water or inhale droplets.
It's possible cyanotoxins can still exist in clear water. Sometimes, cyanobacteria can move into another area, making water that once looked foamy, scummy or discolored now look clear. However, when a bloom dies elsewhere in the water body, it can release toxins that may reach into the clear water. There also are species of cyanobacteria that anchor themselves at the bottom of a water body, live in the sediment, or can grow on aquatic plants and release toxins into clear water near the surface.
For recreational health information, to report human or pet illnesses due to blooms or cyanotoxins in recreational waters, contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0440.
For information about recreational advisories, contact the Oregon Public Health toll-free information line at 877-290-6767 or visit the Harmful Algae Blooms website
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