Toxic algae advisory: Avoid contact with water in Dorena Reservoir

Toxic algae advisory: Avoid contact with water in Dorena Reservoir
File photo of the Dorena Reservoir from 2012.

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. -- Officials sent out a health advisory for the Dorena Reservoir Thursday after finding high levels of blue-green algae.

The Oregon Health Authority tested the water and found the blue-green algae that can produce  a harmful cyanotoxin in the water.

The toxins are harmful to humans and animals if they are swallowed, inhaled or come in contact with the skin, so officials ask people near the lake to be careful when camping or boating in the area.

The Health Advisory also wants to remind people that only some of Oregon's rivers, lakes and reservoirs are tested for toxic algae.

You can see their Dorena report and full list of warnings below:

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

Drinking water directly from Dorena Reservoir is especially dangerous. Oregon Public Health officials warn campers and other Dorena Reservoir visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters.

People who draw in-home water directly from Dorena Reservoir are advised to use an alternative water source because private treatment systems are not proven effective in removing algae toxins. However, public drinking water systems can reduce algae toxins through proper filtration and disinfection. If people on public water systems have questions about treatment and testing, they should contact their water supplier.

Oregon health officials recommend that people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking, because toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues. Public health officials also recommend people not eat freshwater clams or mussels from Dorena Reservoir. Crayfish muscle can be eaten, but internal organs and liquid fat should be discarded.

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. Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure because of their size and level of activity.

The public will be advised when the concern no longer exists.

With proper precautions to avoid water contact, people are encouraged to visit Dorena Reservoir and enjoy activities such as camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, fishing and bird-watching. Boating is safe as long as speeds do not create excessive water spray, which could lead to inhalation risk.