Alpine County lakes report toxic algae blooms |

Alpine County lakes report toxic algae blooms

Staff Reports

Toxic algae blooms have been reported in at least two lakes in Alpine County.

The Alpine County Health Department has been working with The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Red Lake), South Tahoe Public Utility District (Indian Creek Reservoir), and the Alpine Watershed Group in determining that there are levels of toxin associated with blooms of blue-green algae in multiple lakes in Alpine County that are toxic to animals and humans.

Levels at Red Lake have been determined to be well above the danger level.

Levels at Indian Creek Reservoir have triggered a warning alert. Both lakes have been posted with the appropriate warning signs in effect until further notice.

“Ongoing testing will be conducted on a regular basis,” Alpine County Health Officer Richard Johnson said. “My prediction is that conditions will get worse before they get better.”

Potential symptoms in dogs following exposure to blue-green algae toxins can include lethargy, difficulty breathing, salivation, vomiting, urination, diarrhea, or convulsions leading to death.

The unexplained death of a dog after contact with contaminated water is often a sentinel event which alerts officials to the potential of a toxic bloom.

People can experience eye irritation, skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold or flu-like symptoms, with impacts to the liver.

Dogs and children are most likely to be affected because of their smaller body size and tendency to stay in the water for longer periods.

While there is no antidote for exposures, persons should see their physician and those with pets which may have been exposed should go to their veterinarian for supportive care. Livestock who are drinking contaminated water can also suffer fatal consequences.