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Health Advisory For Tenmile Lake Remains In Effect
On October 4th, the Oregon Health Authority issued a health advisory for Tenmile Lakes. This advisory remains in effect. The health advisory was issued because of high levels of a blue-green algae toxin present in the lakes. Water monitoring has confirmed the presence of cyanotoxin from blue-green algae above guideline values. The cyanotoxin concentration found can be harmful to humans and animals. To date, no reports of adverse reactions relating to exposure of Tenmile Lakes have been reported to Coos County Public Health Department.
Swallowing or inhaling water droplets, as well as skin contact with water containing high concentrations of blue-green algae, should be avoided. Drinking water directly from the Tenmile Lakes is especially dangerous. Oregon Public Health officials advise campers and other recreational visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters. People who draw in-home water directly from Tenmile Lakes are advised to use an alternative water source because private treatment systems are not proven effective at removing algae toxins.
Various physical, chemical and biological factors are assumed to be promoting the growth of the cyanotoxin. Some of these factors are beyond human control (e.g., meteorological conditions), but some can be better managed or controlled (e.g., septic discharges). The Coos County Taskforce for Tenmile Lakes is focusing on efforts that will likely improve the long-term vitality of the lakes as well as decrease the risk for illness or death in humans, wildlife and domestic animals that come into contact with the water. With proper precautions to avoid water contact, people are encouraged to visit Tenmile Lakes and enjoy activities such as camping, 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.
Questions or concerns can be directed to the Coos County Health Department at 541-751-2431. For local information about water quality or blue-green algae sampling, contact the Tenmile Lakes Basin Partnership at 541-759-2414. For health information, to report human or pet illnesses due to blooms, or to ask questions about a news release, contact the Oregon Health Authority at 971-673-0400. Also contact the Oregon Public Health toll-free information line at 1-877-290-6767 or visit the Harmful Algae Bloom program’s website at www.healthoregon.org/hab and select “Algae Bloom Advisories,” for information regarding advisories issued or lifted for the season.