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Idaho DEQ Confirms Potentially Harmful Algae Levels in Snake River

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NOAA / FLICKR / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • NOAA / Flickr / Creative Commons 2.0


Idaho Power and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality confirmed potentially harmful levels of blue-green algae have been detected in portions of the Hells Canyon area of the Snake River. While health officials say the situation is temporary, they're still cautioning the public not to have contact with the water, and because animals are also at risk, to keep pets and livestock from the affected area, as well. 

Officials said most algae doesn't reach nuisance levels, but a "harmful algal bloom," aka HAB can produce toxic substances, saying humans who drink or swim in water containing high concentrations of cyanobacteria may experience diarrhea, vomiting, skin irritation, allergic responses and possibly even liver damage. Toxins may accumulate in the internal organs of fish, so eating fish not properly cleaned could also pose a health risk.