MORROW COUNTY — Harmful algae blooms and toxins have been found in the Willow Creek Reservoir, according to a recreational advisory issued Friday by the Oregon Health Authority.
The health authority said that cyanobacteria blooms and cyanotoxins were found to be present in the reservoir in an amount that is above guideline values for human exposure.
Symptoms from exposure to cyanotoxins include stomach cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The OHA said that more serious symptoms like numbness, dizziness and shortness of breath may require medical attention.
People should avoid swimming and high-speed water activities in the lake where blooms were identified.
According to the OHA, the toxins cannot be removed by filtering, boiling or treating the water, so drinking the water is not advised. Those who might draw in-home water from the area should use an alternative source.
People are discouraged from allowing children and pets like dogs in the water. Dogs may consume the toxins by licking their fur or nearby rocks and plants.
Fish from the area should have all fat, skin and organs removed and be rinsed with clean water before freezing or preparation. The OHA said that boating is safe as long as boaters maintain slower speeds to reduce water spray, which could be inhaled.
Willow Creek Reservoir is about 48 miles south of Hermiston.