Lake White - Updated satellite imagery from July 10

Lake White — Updated satellite imagery from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency from July 10 showing the presence of cyanobacteria

According to an update from the Pike County General Health District, satellite imagery taken on July 10 and provided to the health district by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) on July 12 still shows trace amounts of cyanobacteria present in Lake White.

The imagery comes from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The health district stated that this may or may not mean that cyanotoxins are present in the lake.

According to the Pike health district, harmful algal blooms (HAB’s) are caused by cyanobacteria (sometimes called blue-green algae) that are bacteria that are naturally found in Ohio lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams.

According to the July 12 email to the Pike County General Health District from Bryce Kerr, MS, Environmental Specialist 2, for the Ohio Department of Health (Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection), the report may or may not mean that cyanotoxins are present in the lake. Kerr also stated that the information is provided to the health district for their awareness should they receive reports of human or pet illness that reference recreational activity in the lake.

The Pike health district stated on May 29 that they had been notified by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency of possible harmful algal blooms in Lake White after a review of satellite imagery of the lake.

Another update from the Pike County General Health District on June 7 stated that satellite imagery from June 1 still showed trace amounts of cyanobacteria present in Lake White.

The July 10 imagery also shows trace amounts of cyanobacteria present.

According to Pike County Health Commissioner Matt Brewster, Lake White had harmful algal blooms last year that were tested.

In addition, Pike Lake has had HAB’s in previous years but not this year, he said.

Health Problems Exposure to HABs Can Cause in People & Pets (information from the Ohio Department of Health):

Drinking/Swallowing HABs-Contaminated Water

• Severe diarrhea and vomiting

• Liver toxicity (abnormal liver function, abdominal pain)

• Kidney toxicity

• Neurotoxicity (weakness, salivation, tingly fingers, numbness, dizziness)

• Difficulty breathing

• Death

Skin Contact with HABs-Contaminated Water

• Rashes

• Hives

• Skin blisters (especially on the lips and under swimsuits)

Inhaling HABs-Contaminated Water

• Runny eyes and nose

• Sore throat

• Asthma-like symptoms

• Allergic reactions

Individuals should seek medical attention if they believe that they have been exposed to algal toxins and are having adverse health effects.

Contact a veterinarian immediately if pets show signs of illness.

The health district reports that the most common ways to come into contact with HABs are:

Drinking/Swallowing – Drinking HABs-contaminated water from a public water system during a drinking water advisory or the incidental/accidental swallowing of contaminated water such as during water-related recreational activities.

Skin Contact – Swimming, skiing, tubing and other recreational activities in HABs-contaminated waters.

Inhaling – Breathing aerosolized water droplets (misting) of HABs-contaminated water from recreational activities such as jet-skiing or power boating.

Link to info from EPA: http://epa.ohio.gov/HAB-Algae

On May 31, the Pike County General Health District also provided the News Watchman with the following online information and the sources of information:

• “If toxins have been detected in one part of the lake, is the water in the whole lake unsafe?

“Blooms are generally limited by water currents, winds and where nutrients enter the water. Toxin can persist in the water for more than 30 days, but is rapidly diluted and quickly reaches safe levels when the bloom dissipates and as one moves away from the bloom.”

• “How can you protect yourself, your family, and your pets from exposure to HABs?

“Don’t swim, water ski, or boat in areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water.

“If you do swim in water that might have a HAB, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible.

“Don’t let pets or livestock swim in or drink from areas where the water is discolored or where you can see foam, scum, or mats of algae in the water.

“If pets (especially dogs) swim in scummy water, rinse them off immediately — do not let them lick the algae (and toxins) off their fur.

“Don’t irrigate lawns or golf courses with pond water that looks scummy or smells bad.

“Report any musty smell or taste in your drinking water to your local water utility.

“Respect any water body closures announced by local public health authorities.”

Email at mlucas@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @NewsWatchman.

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