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Potentially Harmful Algal Bloom Detected in Washoe Lake Raises Health Concerns

By TheNevadaGlobeStaff, June 29, 2023 4:44 pm

NEVADA – A potentially harmful algal bloom has been discovered in Washoe Lake, raising concerns about water safety and public health. Scientists from Nevada State Parks conducted water tests at Washoe Lake State Park and confirmed the presence of the bloom along the lake’s shoreline.

The Nevada Parks Department has warned that exposure to the algae can occur through physical contact, ingestion, or inhalation of affected water, potentially leading to mild to severe health issues. Children and pets are considered particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of the algae.

As a precautionary measure, visitors and their pets are advised to avoid swimming in the lake water until further notice. However, the lake will remain open for motorized boating and paddling activities.

Algal blooms can persist for days or even weeks, with toxins lingering in the water even after the bloom subsides. These blooms typically occur more frequently during the summer when the water is warm and stagnant.

It is important to recognize the signs of a harmful algae bloom, which include a foul odor emanating from the water, the presence of large floating mats or scums, water resembling green paint, and the appearance of vibrant colors such as blue, green, white, brown, or red.

In case of contact with the algae, thorough washing of the affected area with clean water is recommended. If fishing during a bloom, individuals are advised to carefully clean fish with clean water, consuming only the fillets while disposing of the skin and internal organs in the trash as they may contain higher levels of algal toxins.

Authorities will continue monitoring the situation and provide updates regarding the status of the algal bloom and any necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of the public.

Credits: KOLOTV

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