Toxic algae warning issued for Walterville Pond

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Avoid contact with the water in Walterville Pond, state health officials said.

Water monitoring confirmed the presence of blue-green algae in the pond east of Springfield off of Highway 126.

The algae is capable of producing toxins harmful or fatal to animals and humans. At least one dog has died in Lane County from an algae bloom at another body of water this year.

Health advisory issued for Walterville Pond High algae levels found at Walterville Pond in Lane County

A health advisory is being issued today due to high levels of blue-green algae in Walterville Pond, located off Oregon Route 126, five miles east of Springfield. The pond is adjacent to the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) Walterville Power Canal, a half-mile northeast of the town of Walterville.

Water monitoring has confirmed the presence of blue-green algae that can produce toxins. These algae levels are likely associated with dangerous cyanotoxin concentrations in the water that can be harmful to humans and animals.

"Swallowing or inhaling water droplets, as well as skin contact with water, should be avoided," Oregon Public Health said in a press release. "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, health officials said.

And people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking. 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," Oregon Public Health said. "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 Oregon Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance (HABS) program maintains a current list of all health advisories on its website.

As of September 13, 2013, in Lane County, Dexter, Dorena and Fern Ridge reservoirs were all still subject to toxic algae advisories.