CyanoAlert – blue-green algae caused Kansas dog deaths

30 September 2011

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, can confirm that toxic blue-green algae is responsible for the death of one dog and suspected death of two others.    The two dogs suspected of blue-green algae poisoning are presently undergoing testing at the K-State Laboratory. In all three instances, the dogs had been in the water at Milford Lake, which is in Clay, Geary and Dickinson Counties.

During the past several weeks, Iowa’s RRWA’s customers have experienced earthy and musty tastes and odors in their drinking water.  These tastes and odors have only affected RRWA’s customers who receive drinking water from our water treatment plant located near Rathbun Lake.  RRWA acknowledges that the most likely source of geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol in Rathbun Lake is cyanobacteria (or blue-green algae) blooms that occur in the lake – but makes no mention of whether they are testing for algal toxins as well!  Remember also that BMAA (search this blog for details) is produced by ALL blue-green algal types.

It has been discovered that all blue-green algae blooms produce a neurotoxin. This neurotoxin is called beta-methyl-amino-alanine, more easily said as BMAA.
Motor neurons are affected by low levels BMAA. Hence, suspicion and investigation into its link to Parkinson’s disease, ALS (also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Alzheimer’s.  Search this blog for more information on BMAA.

England’s iconic Lake Windermere has potentially-deadly blue-green algae in it.  The Environment Agency says it has found evidence of an algal bloom at Low Wray Bay, prompting South Lakeland District Council to issue a warning.The authority said anyone using lakes, rivers and reservoirs should treat all blue-green algae blooms with caution and contact should be avoided as skin rashes and illness may occur if the water is swallowed. Farmers and pet owners should also prevent livestock and animals coming into contact or drinking the affected water, as it can sometimes prove fatal for animals.

Also in the UK, Chad council chiefs have reassured people that work is being done to monitor signs of blue-green algae at King’s Mill Reservoir.  Experts at the authority say they have been monitoring the situation for the past month and that warning signs were put up. The reassurance comes following concerns from the public about blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, which can be toxic to wildlife and humans if they come into contact with it.

Back to the USA:   Oregon Council member Sandy Bihn at a council meeting Monday said the algae in Lake Erie is getting worse.  “The situation in Lake Erie with the algae is becoming more and more grave,” she said to council. “There’s a lot of newspaper articles that are referring to Lake Erie as dying again. Obviously, that can impact the treatment cost for water intake, it can affect the economy of the lake and economy of the region.”  Much of the algae is caused by storm water runoff of fertilizer from farm fields that is carried into the lake. A recent study indicates the algae may also be caused by sewage overflows.

The city of Watertown (SD) owns a water treatment facility on Lake Kampeska which is no longer in service. Lake Kampeska has a problem with exceedingly high levels of phosphorus levels, a significant concern.  Roger Foote, project coordinator of the Upper Big Sioux River Watershed Project, says with the resources in place it’s time to attack the problems on the lake. He recently addressed the Public Works Committee and City council seeking permission to apply for a grant to put a proposed plan onto action and use the decommissioned plant to remove phosphorus from the lake water.

A while back I listed a “rain garden” as a means of removing nutrients from runoff.  Lots of readers have asked what these are – today I found an article that may be of additional value to the explanations I provided.

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