Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Water Purification - Blue Green Algae

Every summer in the Cascades of Oregon hikers and campers are warned about Blue Green algae.  The warnings arrive as the temperatures rise.  In some cases the algae infestation can become quite dangerous.

Algae are microscopic organisms that grow naturally in the lakes and waters of Oregon.  Some species such as cyanobacteria can produce toxins that can cause serious illness or death in pets, livestock and humans.

Warnings are provided by the State's Office of Public Health.  Severe conditions can be visually detected by the presence of a thick scum or foam that is white, brown, blue green or bright green.

Contamination systems range from a mild skin irritation to dizziness, paralysis, cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.

So, when in doubt stay out and don't drink it.

Importantly for the hiker, you can not treat the toxins.  Water filtration and boiling has not been proven to be effective.

Should your pet become covered with the algae immediately wash them with water from another source.  Do not allow them to lick the algae off their body. 

For a detailed report on Blue Green Algae visit the US Forest Service site here.

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