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Warnings issued about algae toxin in Rufus Woods Lake

The Wenatchee World - 8/25/2017

Aug. 25--BRIDGEPORT -- An algae bloom at Rufus Woods Lake prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to post warnings Friday about in-water activities at the lake near Bridgeport.

The blue-green algae bloom has produced a naturally occurring nerve toxin that should be avoided by humans and animals, said a Corps press release. The warnings -- originally issued by the state Department of Health and then posted by the Corps -- caution the public to limit swimming, water skiing and other in-lake activities. The toxin can be lethal to animals if ingested at high enough concentrations.

While it's safe to eat properly cleaned and gutted fish, said the press release, lake water should not be consumed and steps should be taken to keep livestock and pets away from the lake. Boaters are also advised to avoid areas where algae blooms are present.

Samples of floating algae blooms were taken recently from the lake and forwarded to King County environmental laboratories for testing and analysis. Test results indicated that concentrations of anatoxin-a in the algae were as high as 923 micrograms per liter. State health guidelines recommend only 1 microgram per liter in water used for recreation.

Testing will continue, said the Corps press release. Meanwhile, access to Rufus Woods Lake remains open to the public.

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or irwin@wenatcheeworld.com. Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.

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(c)2017 The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.)

Visit The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.) at www.wenatcheeworld.com

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