Chelan County PUD
Toxic algae in the Columbia River behind Douglas County PUD's Wells Dam, north of Chelan, has prompted Chelan County PUD to monitor the shoreline behind Rocky Reach Dam and begin testing for the blue-green cyanobacteria.
For public safety, the PUD warns those enjoying the river behind Rocky Reach and Rock Island dams to use caution in case the algae has made its way downriver.
Shoreline users and boaters should avoid contact with water whenever surface concentrations of algae are evident or when the water has an obvious green to blue-green appearance.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reports that the algae can cause a rash on humans and be lethal to some animals if ingested at high concentrations. In extreme cases, human exposure to blue-green algae can produce nerve and liver toxins, resulting in numbness of the lips, tingling in fingers and toes, dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. DOH asserts that fish from affected areas are safe to eat if they are properly cleaned and gutted.
If you observe a suspected bloom of blue-green algae, assume it is toxic and contact Chelan County PUD’s Parks Department, at (509) 661-8167, or the Chelan Douglas Health District at (509) 886-6499.
If algae is found, signs will be posted along the shoreline in affected public-use areas and samples from the reservoir will be tested weekly until toxin levels drop below the state’s accepted levels.
For more information about Chelan County PUD’s response, contact Environmental Permit Coordinator Waikele Frantz (509) 661-4627 or (509) 433-8999.
For more information on blue-green algae, visit http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Contaminants/BlueGreenAlgae.aspx