CASCADE, Idaho — Health officials are warning recreationists about using Cascade Reservoir due to the presence of a harmful algae bloom in the water.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has been monitoring the reservoir and says a recent water sample shows that concentrations of a toxin-producing cyanobacteria are present. These type of bacteria can be harmful to humans and pets.
Central District Health and DEQ have issued a health advisory for reservoir users.
Cyanobacteria are a natural occuring in bodies of water, however when temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water.
Algae blooms may look like mats, foam, spilled paint, or surface scum, and have a foul odor. They can move around to different areas, water depths and change in severity. They are most common in the summer months through the fall.
When recreating near water with a health advisory in effect, take the following precautions for yourself and pets:
• Avoid swimming, wading, or other activities. Take extra precautions to ensure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water.
• Do not drink or cook with water containing a bloom. Boiling and filtering the water can increase the risk.
• Wash your hands thoroughly after handling fish caught in water experiencing a bloom. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly and any internal organs disposed of before consumption. If people choose to eat fish from this area, filet the fish and remove all of the fat, skin, and organs before cooking.
• Clean with potable water as soon as possible if water contacts skin or pet fur.
The public will be advised when water testing indicates the algae bloom is no longer to be a concern at Cascade Reservoir.