Toxic blue-green algae bacteria found in Lake Lowell, other areas

Blue-green algae. File photo.

Health officials have issued a warning after unsafe levels of blue-green algae bacteria were discovered in Idaho waters.

The Southwest District Health Department says that the toxic bacteria was found in Lake Lowell at the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, the Snake River in Hells Canyon, and in Brownlee Reservoir in Washington County.

The bacteria released by the blue-green algae is toxic to people, pets, and livestock.

The health department says that the algae blooms appear as green or blue-green on the surface of the water and that they may look like surface scum or pea soup. It can also smell bad.

Officials are recommending that people avoid contact and not drink any water from affected bodies of water. Fish caught from the area should be cleaned and rinsed with clean water, and only the filet should be eaten.

If the water does come into contact with skin or pet fur, officials say the affected area should be washed immediately with clean water.

The health department also says canal users should take precautions as well. The canals impacted by the bacteria are the Deer Flat Nampa, Deer Flat Caldwell, Low Line, and North canals.

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