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Two Cases Of Water Contamination In North Idaho And Spokane

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

Health officials in north Idaho are warning about toxic algae blooms in Lower Twin Lake.

Meanwhile, Spokane city officials say residents in parts of the Hillyard neighborhood should continue to drink bottled water because their tap water is contaminated.

In Kootenai County, the Panhandle Health District warns people to avoid exposure to the water in Lower Twin Lake. Tests have shown the water contains cyanobacteria, or harmful algae bloom.

The district has issued an advisory, warning people who enter the water could get rashes, hives, diarrhea and vomiting. They say those who drink the water could contract liver and/or nervous system problems.

The algae blooms mar the appearance of the water, making it appear green. Thick mats of scum appear along shorelines. Health officials say children, older people, people with weakened immune systems and pets are most vulnerable.

People who enjoy the lake are advised to be careful and avoid exposure to the contaminated water. Wash your body after swimming, if you choose to do that. And remove all fat, skin and organs from fish caught from the lake before eating it.

In Spokane, city officials continue to flush the water system east of Market and north of Wellesley and test it. Chemical hydroseeding solution entered the system on Friday and crews have been trying to flush it out. The people who use the water pulled from the aquifer in that area are asked not to drink it or cook with it. They can use it for washing and other things that don’t involve eating or drinking.