Tests find toxic algae in Walterville Pond

Tests find toxic algae in Walterville Pond
A warning sign posted at a state recreation area at Dexter Reservoir in July 2013

WALTERVILLE, Ore. - Tests confirmed the presence of blue-green algae capable of harming humans and animals in Walterville Pond, the Oregon Health Division said Tuesday.

Such algae blooms have been blamed for the deaths of dogs in recent years.

Walterville Pond is adjacent to the Eugene Water and Electric Board's Walterville Canal, about 5 miles east of Springfield on Highway 126.

Water monitoring confirmed the presence of blue-green algae that can produce toxins.

Swallowing or inhaling water droplets, as well as skin contact with water, should be avoided, the state said.

Drinking water directly from Walterville Pond is especially dangerous. The toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters.

Oregon health officials recommend that people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking, because toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues.

Exposure to toxins can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems, and require immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting should also receive medical attention if they persist or worsen.

For more information, you can call the Oregon Public Health toll-free information line at 1-877-290-6767 or visit www.healthoregon.org/hab and select "Algae Bloom Advisories" for information regarding advisories.