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Oakland County residents cautioned about Algal Blooms in Lakes

People should avoid direct contact with water that appears scummy

People should exercise caution and avoid direct contact with water that appears scummy, looks like spilled paint, or has a green sheen to it. (WDIV)
People should exercise caution and avoid direct contact with water that appears scummy, looks like spilled paint, or has a green sheen to it. (WDIV)

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – The Oakland County Health Division is reminding residents that algal blooms may be present in lakes.

People should exercise caution and avoid direct contact with water that appears scummy, looks like spilled paint, or has a green sheen to it. The scum may contain flecks, foam, or clumps.

“If you see algae, avoid direct contact with it and keep pets away as well,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “Although algae are a natural presence in waterways, special precautions need to be followed to prevent illness.”

If the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy notifies the Health Division that an algal bloom is identified in Oakland County and may be harmful, the Health Division posts caution signs at the lake.

Individuals should exercise caution even at lakes that do not have a posted advisory. For questions or to report algal blooms, contact EGLE at AlgaeBloom@michigan.gov. Pictures are encouraged.

Dense populations of algae are called a bloom. Some blooms are harmless, but some contain blooming toxic organisms. These toxins can produce conditions harmful to humans, pets, and aquatic life.

Take the following actions if an algal bloom is present:

• Do not drink untreated surface water, whether or not blooms are present. Remember, boiling the water will not remove the toxins.

• Obey posted signs for public health advisories and/or beach closings.

• Do not allow children or pets to play in or drink water where algae or scum is present.

• Do not boat at high speeds, water-ski, or swim in areas of the lake where algal blooms are present. Avoid direct contact with the lake water or sprinklers.

• Do not water lawns, gardens, or golf courses with water from impacted lakes or ponds because it aerosolizes the water.

• Report unpleasant tastes or smells in your drinking water to the local water utility.