Rice Lake Algae Tests Show Toxins Below Harmful Levels News, Sports, Jobs

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Kim Fundingsland / MDN Algae drifting against the shore of Rice Lake in this June 30 photo. Tests have shown that the toxins in algae are below the “advisory” standards set by the North Dakota Department of Health.

LAKE RICE – This body of water has passed the test. So far, so good.

The North Dakota Department of Health was alerted to a heavy presence of algae in Rice Lake on July 1. Tests, primarily for the deadly blue-green cyanobacterium strain, have shown that toxin levels in Rice Lake water remain below “advisory” levels.

“We had a staff member go over there and get a sample after this initial report,” said Aaron Larsen, Water Quality Division. “I think last year was one of the first years for reports of blue-green algae in Rice Lake.”

Rice Lake, southwest of Minot, was on the list of Noxious Algae Blooms, or HABs, in the state a year ago. It is not on the current list of 15 state lakes for which the Department of Health has issued advisories. A warning means that the water may contain blue-green algae which can be harmful to humans and pets. In these bodies of water, the DOH advises people to avoid contact with water, or even to avoid areas with algae scum when boating.

Among the lakes of concern identified by the Department of Health are two lakes in Pierce County, Antelope and Buffalo, and Coal Mine Lake in Sheridan County. Outbreaks of blue-green algae, Larsen said, are occurring earlier than usual this summer.

“With extremely hot and dry weather, we kind of expected early calls, and that’s how it turned out,” Larsen said. “We have a lot of nutrient rich water bodies and, with extremely dry areas, the blue-green occurs earlier than normal.”

The DOH says fish in lakes of concern are edible, but advises people to rinse their hands thoroughly with non-lake water after landing fish and wash fish thoroughly with tap water beforehand. to clean it. Also, says the DOH, a person should contact their health care provider or veterinarian if “You or your pet get sick after swimming. “

Larsen says anyone seeing blue-green algae, which often appears as spilled green or blue paint, should contact the DOH’s Environmental Quality Department at 328-5210. A list of lakes affected by harmful algae can be found on NDDEQ’s Harmful Algal Bloom web page.

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