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Health Advisory: Presence of blue-green algae prompts warning for North Fork Reservoir

The Oregon Health Authority's public health division and the Clackamas County Health Department have issued a health advisory for North Fork Reservoir, located 7 miles south of Estacada, and Timothy Lake, 25 miles south of Government Camp.

Water monitoring has confirmed the presence of blue-green algae that has the ability to produce harmful toxins. Swallowing or inhaling this water should be avoided, as should skin contact for animals or humans.

The Oregon Public Health officials advise campers and other visitors that the toxins cannot be removed through boiling, filtering or treating the water.

People who draw in-home water from North Fork Reservoir or Timothy Lake are advised to find an alternative water source because even private treatment systems are not proven effective in removing algae toxins.

Public drinking water systems can reduce the toxins through proper filtration and disinfection, and if people on public water systems have questions, they should contact their water supplier.

People who plan to eat fish from water where algae blooms are present are advised to remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking. Additionally, public officials are advising that people should refrain from eating freshwater clams from the North Fork Reservoir and Timothy Lake. Crayfish muscle can be eaten, but internal organs and liquid fat should be discarded.

Symptoms of exposure to these toxins include numbness, tingling and dizziness, skin irritation, diarrhea, nausea, cramps and fainting. If these symptoms persist, people are advised to seek medical attention.

Boating is safe as long as people do not create excessive water spray.

For more local information, call Portland General Electric at 503-630-8234.