Harmful algal bloom prompts health advisory for Magic Reservoir

Harmful algal bloom prompts health advisory for Magic Reservoir

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Magic Reservoir

A photo taken at Magic Reservoir near Lava Point on Sept. 30, 2016.

BELLEVUE — Health officials are warning people to avoid the water in the Magic Reservoir because of a harmful algal bloom.

The public health advisory was issued Friday afternoon by the South Central Public Health District and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. Results from recent water testing show the concentration of cyanobacteria (sometimes called blue-green algae) in the reservoir are now at unhealthy levels and have formed a harmful algal bloom.

This is the third health advisory issued for a reservoir in south-central Idaho. The first was issued on July 8 for Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir. The second advisory was issued July 25 for Mormon Reservoir. Both advisories are ongoing.

The public is advised to take the following steps to protect their health in all three reservoirs:

  • Avoid exposure to water in reservoirs under a harmful algal bloom health advisory. Make sure children, pets, and livestock are not exposed to the water.
  • Do not drink water with an advisory. Boiling and disinfecting do not remove toxins from water.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae
  • If fishing in harmful algal bloom water, remove all fat, skin, and organs before cooking. Toxins are more likely to collect in those tissues. Wash hands after handling.

“We are issuing an advisory because these toxins can be so damaging — especially for animals who drink or play in the water,” said health district spokeswoman Brianna Bodily. “Until this advisory is lifted we urge you to choose a different reservoir to fish and recreate in.”

Harmful algal blooms are not unusual in warm summer months and typically shrink quickly as the water temperature drops in mid to late fall.

“You can help by reporting suspicious-looking water to DEQ by phone, email, or with the bloomWatch app,” Department of Environmental Quality analyst Brian Reese said.


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