Oregon DEQ finds algae toxins near Ross Island Lagoon - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon DEQ finds algae toxins near Ross Island Lagoon

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Tests by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality have revealed toxins from blue green algae near the Ross Island Lagoon.

The results of the test were shared with the Oregon Health Authority,and the agency issued a Health Advisory for the area just after 3:00 p.m. Thursday.

This same algae bloom was present at Ross Island Lagoon last year, and got so big that the OHA issued an advisory warning people not to touch the water from Ross Island all the way to Sauvie Island. The bloom this year is not as severe, yet.

Blue green algae doesn’t usually form on this stretch of the Willamette this early in the summer. Scientists think Portland’s heat wave may have something to do with it.

People using the river said they’re steering clear of the lagoon.

“Yeah I’ll keep an eye out for it,” Bill Forsythe, who canoes on the Willamette, said. “Try to stay in the area where the water is traveling with a lot of boat traffic, stay in some waves.”

“Instead of going that direction, we went north, or on the west side of the Ross Island to stay kind of out of that flow,” rower Molly Evjen added.

The OHA advised that no one swallow or inhale any water from the area, and noted that people need to be especially careful about water droplets and spray churned up in high-speed activities like water skiing and power boating.

Exposure to the toxins can lead to rashes, skin and eye irritation, GI issues and other serious illness. According to the OHA, children and pets are particularly susceptible do to their size and activity in the water.

The OHA also advises that water purification systems are not effective against the toxins, and that special care must be taken if diners want to eat fish from affected areas.

To learn more, visit Oregon.gov.

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