June 24, 2014

Beaches at East Fork Lake under Health Advisory due to Algal Blooms

BATAVIA, Ohio  (June 24, 2014) — The State of Ohio placed the campground beach and main beach at East Fork Lake under a Recreational Public Health Advisory as of June 23 due to a toxin produced by a harmful algae bloom called microcystin. This toxin has been shown to affect the liver at a concentration of 6 parts per billion (ppb). The latest round of sampling by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources showed microcystin levels at 8.7 ppb at the main beach and 190 at the campground beach. The advisory warns individuals who are elderly or very young and people with compromised immune systems against swimming or wading.  If you do choose to swim, there are some important health tips you should follow:
• After swimming or wading in lake water, even where no harmful algal bloom is visible, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible.

• Never swallow any lake or river water, whether you see a bloom or not.

• Do not let pets enter the water if there is a bloom. If they do, rinse them very well.  Do not let them lick algal material from their fur.

• Do not drink or cook with untreated lake water.

• See a doctor if you or your children appear to be ill from algal toxins. If your pet appears ill, contact your veterinarian. Know the signs:

o Humans: numbness of lips, tingling in fingers and toes, dizziness, headache, rash or skin irritation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting. If you have any signs of this, call the Clermont County General Health District to report it at 513-735-8400.

o Pets: weakness, staggering, convulsions, difficulty in breathing, vomiting.

Other activities near the water such as camping, picnicking, biking and hiking are safe. If you are picnicking, wash your hands before eating if you have had contact with lake water or shore debris.  If you plan to eat the fish you catch, remove the guts and liver, and rinse fillets in tap water before eating.

In Clermont County, drinking water drawn from Harsha Lake is treated at the Bob McEwen Water Treatment Plant. The plant uses several methods to treat the water, including Granulated Activated Carbon method, which is one of the best available technologies to remove microcystins, said Mark Day, Assistant Director of the county Water Resources Department. In addition, the water is disinfected with chlorine, which inactivates microscystins, Day noted.

The State will continue to conduct weekly sampling until the toxins have not been detected for two consecutive weeks. For testing results or more information on harmful algal blooms, visit http://epa.ohio.gov/habalgae.aspx.
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