Central District Health has issued a health advisory for Cascade Reservoir.
After testing algal around the reservoir, CDH and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have determined there is cyanobacteria or Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB).
People and animals who are recreating in water, eating fish and shellfish, or drinking the water contaminated by HAB are at risk of becoming sick.
CDH laid out a list of precautions to take when recreating near the water that includes avoiding water activities such as swimming, not exposing pets and children to the water, not consuming water with a bloom (boiling and filtering may increase your risk), if the water contacts skin or pets fur clean with potable water, and wash your hands when handling fish with a bloom.
CDH says cyanobacteria are found in Idaho waters. But when it gets hot, the bacteria can bloom and release cyanotoxins into the water. CDH says blooms “vary” but can look like spilled paint, surface scum, and mats. And they warn that just because you find HAB in one area, does not mean it has not contaminated other parts of the water.
CDH says a bad smell and discolored water are also signs of HAB.
CDH lists symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure that include hives, rashes, and vomiting. If the water is ingested, you may develop more severe symptoms that affect the lungs and nervous system. CDH cautions if symptoms persist, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider.
If a pet comes in contact is important to wash them with shampoo and water. And if the pet shows symptoms such as drooling or vomiting, contact a vet right away.
The DEQ will continue to monitor the situation through surveillance, weekly sampling of Cascade Reservoir, and on-site observation.
To learn more about what to do if you come in contact with HAB or to read current advisories, click here.