ND Department of Health Warns of Blue-Green Algae

If you think you see blue-green algae, you should report it to the Department of Health

NORTH DAKOTA — Before you head out to the lakes, make sure you’re aware of a dangerous type of algae: blue-green algae.

If you see blue-green algae, you don’t necessarily have to avoid the water, but make sure you and your animals stay clean.

“Blue-green algae blooms are usually caused by weather conditions— heat, lots of sunlight, and excessive nutrients. It looks like a mat or a scum or a foam on the water. It also looks like spilled green paint, people say,” Michael Hargiss, and environmental scientist with the North Dakota Department of Health, said.

If you come across blue-green algae, make sure you shower off after getting out of the water.

“This toxin can make you sick. If you come in contact with it, if you inhale it, or if you ingest it, it can give you vomiting diarrhea, respiratory issues, a rash, and in some severe cases, it can cause death,” Hargiss said.

Officials say if you think you see a sign of blue–green algae, you should report it to the Department of Health so they can help everyone stay safe.

“We send out a team to investigate the lake, we take tests, if the tests come back with toxins present, we have an advisory posted at that particular lake. This doesn’t stop you from using the lake, but it’s there for visitors to bring attention to the issue and precautions they can take,” Hargiss said.

Sydney Bailey, 11, likes to go fishing with her sibilngs.  She says she only knows a little about algae.

“Since algae’s on the bottom, it can be kind of slippery and maybe toxic,” she said.

She says she’s going to be more careful if she sees any that’s blue–green.

“If I see it maybe I’ll report it to the Health Department or tell my nanny or one of my parents to like, ‘hey, we should not fish here anymore and tell someone that there’s blue green algae,'” she said.

There’s only been one case in Buffalo Gap Dam in Western North Dakota. If you want to file a report, click here.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News