Health advisory issued for Lower Twin Lake due to toxic algae blooms

Health advisory issued for Lower Twin Lake due to toxic algae blooms
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
An example of an algae bloom.

A health advisory has been issued for Lower Twin Lake. Panhandle Health District and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality are urging people to be cautious when on or near the water, especially if accidentally drinking the water is a concern.

Water quality monitoring of Lower Twin Lake has revealed a harmful algae bloom, also called cyanobacteria. These blooms can create dangerous toxins in the lake, but are also easily identified. They appear as discolored streaks or blobs of scum in the water and along the shoreline. Pets, children, elderly people, and others with weaker immune systems are the most at-risk of harmful exposure.

“A complaint came in of a scum formation along the northeast shoreline of Lower Twin Lake,” said Kristin Larson, Water Quality Analyst for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. “A sample was taken from the public boat ramp on west Twin Lakes Road. We will continue to monitor Twin Lakes throughout the duration of this bloom.”

According to the two agencies, wind and weather can change the location of the algae blooms. They recommend that if you have to question it — you probably should not get in the water.

They also warn that the toxins cannot be boiled or filtered out of the water. If anyone makes contact with the contaminated water, they recommend to wash off with fresh water. If people choose to eat fish from the lake, they should remove all fat, skins, and organs before cooking, as the toxins are most likely to collect in those areas.

Symptoms of exposure to the algae bloom include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and wheezing. More severe symptoms come from ingestion of the contaminated water, and may affect the liver and nervous system.

Currently, the Department of Environmental Quality is working with residents and landowners to reduce nutrients in the lake that feed the algae blooms. They will provide further updates as the situation unfolds.