Blue-green algae alert issued for Newman Lake

<p><p>Spokane County’s Environmental Programs issued a harmful algae bloom alert for Newman Lake after test results taken this week revealed potentially harmful toxicity levels for cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae.</p></p><p><p>The harmful algae bloom alert is the latest of a handful issued this summer in the area. The extreme heat this summer and lower-than-normal water levels can create an ideal environment for organisms to easily grow and multiply, the release said.</p></p><p><p>In just one week this summer, the Panhandle Health District issued health advisories due to harmful blooms at three popular swimming spots in North Idaho: Fernan Lake, Hayden Lake and Sagle Slough, where the Pend Oreille River meets Lake Pend Oreille.</p></p><p><p>It also issued a public health advisory last month for Spirit Lake after officials confirmed the presence of a harmful algae bloom along the shoreline.</p></p><p><p>Per Washington State Department of Health recreational guidelines, Spokane County and the Spokane Regional Health District strongly advise that recreation at Newman Lake stop until further notice, according to a health district news release. It said there is no known illness among people or animals from Newman Lake.</p></p><p><p>Water quality monitoring and testing will continue there each week, the release said. Signage at the lake will be updated once toxicity levels are within acceptable limits. </p></p><p><p>If people eat fish from the lake, it is recommended they remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking because toxins are more likely to collect in those tissues.</p></p><p><p>Symptoms of exposure to algal toxins vary depending on the exposure but can include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may result from ingesting water. If symptoms persist, consult a health care provider.</p></p><p><p>Community members are encouraged to pay attention to signage and not swim in water that is under a health advisory or is listed as having a toxic algae bloom; avoid water that is stagnant, has dead fish or other aquatic animals in it, or contains large amounts of algae; not swim or play in water near sewer or other discharge pipes, or in areas that are frequented by livestock or other land animals; and not swim near or play in marshy areas where snails are commonly found.</p></p><p><p>It is safest for people to avoid getting water in their mouth and nose, and to stay out of the water if they have open wounds, sores or diarrhea.</p></p><p><p>Individuals who swim or play in the water should shower with soap and water when done and contact a health care provider immediately if they become ill or have symptoms of infection.</p></p><p><p>If somebody suspects water contains a toxic algae bloom, they are encouraged to visit the Washington state toxic algae tracking site at <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a> for directions on how to report it.</p></p><p><p>Consumption of toxic algae can be fatal for pets.</p></p><p><p>More information on harmful algae blooms can be found on the health district’s website, <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a>.</p></p>