Toxic Algae

KENNEWICK — Benton-Franklin Health District ordered the Scooteney Reservoir closed on Monday due to toxic levels of bacteria in the lake.

Test results indicated elevated levels of the toxin Microcystin, which is especially dangerous for small children and animals.

People and animals are exposed by ingesting the water. Symptoms may take 30 minutes to 24 hours to appear, depending upon the size of the person/animal affected and the amount of toxins consumed. Exposure may result in jaundice, shock, abdominal pain/distention, weakness, nausea/vomiting, severe thirst, rapid/weak pulse and death.

Scooteney Reservoir visitors are cautioned to keep children and pets out of the water until further testing shows the toxins reduced to safe levels. Typically, the toxin remains in the water for about a week after the bloom disappears. Exposure to Microcystin can be fatal.

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