Blue-green Algae Alert Issued for Blue Lake

In April of this year Metro approved the purchase of 3 SolarBees® for permanent placement on Blue Lake.  The units had been in continuous operation for the previous 24 month during a trial on the Lake.  The Oregonian recently reported …

By Lynne Terry, The Oregonian

October 14, 2009, 5:04PM

This is not a good time to go for a brisk swim in Blue Lake east of Portland — and not just because of the weather.

The popular lake on Northeast Marine Drive is contaminated with toxins.

Recent tests show that the lake, which draws 300,000 people a year, has dangerous levels of blue-green algae.

Scott Paskill,  manager of the area for Metro, the regional agency that manages part of the lake, said the lake was covered with a scum a few days ago but he said that conditions appear to be improving.

Officials have posted signs around the lake, warning people to stay away from the water and not to fish.

Blue-green algae flourish in warm weather and also when the seasons change, producing toxins that can contaminate fish and the water.

It is dangerous to eat shellfish or crayfish from tainted water, and officials recommend that the fat, skin and organs be removed from other fish before eating.

Contaminated water can irritate the skin as well and cause nausea, diarrhea and even liver damage. Children and pets are especially susceptible.

In August, high blue-green algae levels in Elk Creek in southern Oregon killed as many as four dogs, which suffered convulsions and died quickly after frolicking in the water during visits with their owners.

Paskill is not concerned about that happening at Blue Lake.

“We don’t allow pets in the park,” he said, “and no one is using the park right now.”

A month or two ago, when the weather was warmer, it would have been a different story.

Covering 64 acres,  the lake is a popular fishing and swimming spot in summer for Portland-area residents.

Still, about 300 people live in the Fairview neighborhood, about 15 miles from downtown Portland. Paskill said they have been informed about the algae.

“It’s not like it’s the middle of summer,” he said, “but we do have to notify the public.”

For more information, call the state’s harmful algae program at 971-673-0400 or visit this Web page: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/hab.

— Lynne Terry

2 Comments

Filed under Algae Bloom, Performance, Solarbees, Water Quality

2 responses to “Blue-green Algae Alert Issued for Blue Lake

  1. Joseph M Horton

    The Oregonian for some reason spoke only to the most uninformed official. They didn’t speak of Metro not giving us water until late in the Summer (after Aug.20) They did not speak of the low water levels all year. They also didn’t mention that the water that they finally pumped in was extremely hi in Phosphorus. The facts were left out. Why was that. There were mistakes and lack of accountability for our lake stewards this year. That we will be addressing this next year.
    This website so eagerly puts up the negative stories of Solar Bee, yet tries to claim to be a fair informational site. I have investigated quite a few of your Solar bee stories before your site began and after. In almost all cases the facts were not all published in the light of the full truth. Just like our lake, the facts were not published. Our warning to Metro of the results of thier lack of action was like a broken record.
    The Solar bees performed outstanding during the Summer even during the weeks of 100 degree weather. Lakes around us did not fair so well. So, lets really try harder next time to find out the truth and don’t always believe what you read in the Oregonian.

  2. S Miles Schlesinger

    thx for the update…I have permanently relocated to 1192 Lake Dr and plan to become involved in the lakes water quality problems…Miles

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