Toxic blue-green algae found at Priest Lake Outlet and Chuck Slough
SANDPOINT, Idaho — Public health advisories have been made for the Priest Lake Outlet and Chuck Slough areas due to toxic blue-green algae blooms.
The Panhandle Health District (PHD) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have issued these advisories for the Priest Lake Outlet from Outlet Bay Road to the dam, and Chuck Slough west of Sandpoint. They are urging people to use caution when recreating in or near the water.
Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, was confirmed to be in the water in both areas. The blooms at Priest Lake Outlet is from Outlet Bay Road to the dam, but all of Chuck Slough is contaminated with the algae.
PHD said caution should be taken anywhere the water appears discolored or murky. The algae can produce dangerous toxins, especially in high concentrations. PHD said blooms can look unsightly, often as discolored water, streaks or globs of scum and causing thick green mats along lake shorelines.
Pets, children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are most at-risk of these blooms.
Those recreating in these areas are advised to take precautions to avoid exposure to lake water that appears to have algae. PHD cautioned private domestic water system owners using the lake for drinking water that the toxins can’t be removed by boiling or filtering the water.
Anyone who makes contact with water containing the toxic algae is recommended to wash off with fresh water.
PHD recommends those who eat fish from the lake to remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking. The toxins are more likely to collect in those tissues.
Symptoms include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system may come from drinking the water. If symptoms persist, PHD said to consult your health care provider.
People will be told when the algae is no longer a concern. You can find the latest updates on harmful algae blooms in northern Idaho here.
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