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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The words blasted to cellphones around Oregon’s capital city were ominous: “Civil emergency . prepare for action.”
Within half an hour, a second official alert clarified the subject wasn’t impending violence but toxins from an algae bloom, detected in Salem’s water supply.
Across the U.S., reservoirs that supply drinking water and lakes used for recreation are experiencing similar events with growing frequency. The trend represents another impact of global warming and raises looming questions about the effects on human health, researchers say.
“When water bodies warm up earlier and stay warmer longer ... you increase the number of incidents,” said Wayne Carmichael, a retired Wright State University professor specializing in the organisms. “That’s just logical, and it’s being borne out.”
Technically called cyanobacteria, the ancient class of organisms that create the blooms are present nearly everywhere water is found but thrive in warm, still bodies like lakes and ponds. They also create a unique class of toxins, the impact of which on humans is only partly understood.
More from AP News: https://apnews.com/477b5b53f6a3423885b521b648c3e560
These 47 Oregon lakes and rivers have all been hit with algae
The two most frequent locations for algae blooms were Willow Creek Lake in Eastern Oregon (14 health advisories) and Lost Creek Lake in Southern Oregon (13 advisories).
Detroit Lake has been in the spotlight this month for all the wrong reasons.
Health officials say toxic algae that formed in the reservoir flowed downstream in the North Santiam River and fouled Salem’s drinking water, sparking the weeks-long do-not-drink warning for vulnerable populations.
But a look at data shows Detroit Lake isn’t the only water body in Oregon that produces toxic algae — far from it.
In fact, Detroit Lake is on the low end for the number of toxic algae blooms that have formed over the years.
More info and video from NBC News: https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/ ... -565624350
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