Health advisory issued for Walterville Pond
September 13, 2013
High algae levels found at Walterville Pond in Lane County
A health advisory is being issued today due to high levels of blue-green algae in Walterville Pond, located off Oregon Route 126, five miles east of Springfield. The pond is adjacent to the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) Walterville Power Canal, a half-mile northeast of Walterville.
Water monitoring has confirmed the presence of blue-green algae that can produce toxins. These algae levels are likely associated with dangerous cyanotoxin concentrations in the water that can be harmful to humans and animals.
Swallowing or inhaling water droplets, as well as skin contact with water, should be avoided. Drinking water directly from Walterville Pond is especially dangerous.
Oregon Public Health officials advise recreational visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters. People who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking, because toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues. Public health officials also advise that people not eat freshwater clams or mussels from Walterville Pond. Crayfish muscle can be eaten, but internal organs and liquid fat should be discarded.
Exposure to toxins can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems, and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting should also receive medical attention if they persist or worsen. Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure because of their size and level of activity.
The public will be advised when the concern no longer exists.
With proper precautions to avoid water contact, people are encouraged to visit Walterville Pond and enjoy activities such as hiking, biking, picnicking, fishing and bird watching. Boating is safe as long as speeds do not create excessive water spray, which could lead to inhalation risk.
For local information, contact EWEB at 541-685-7471 and the Lane County Health Department at 541-682-4526. For health information, contact the Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance (HABS) program at 971-673-0400.
The HABS program maintains a current list of all health advisories on its website. To find out if an advisory has been issued or lifted for a specific water body, visit www.healthoregon.org/hab and select "Algae Bloom Advisories," or call the Oregon Public Health Division toll-freeinformation line at 1-877-290-6767.
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