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Warm Weather Could Spawn Dangerous Blue-Green Algae

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The warm weather is fueling a potential health risk on area lakes.

Algae blooms are starting to grow and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has a warning about a particular type — blue-green algae.

“It looks like you could walk on it kinda, doesn’t it?” Jason Ross said. “It’s a little thick and disgusting; smells, too.”

Most algae isn’t harmful, but it’s an indicator that growing conditions are ideal for a more toxic type called blue-green algae.

It can cause rashes, nausea or vomiting both in humans and pets.

“There have been confirmed dog deaths, from dogs getting into the blue-green algae,” said Glenn Skuta of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Blue-green algae is easy to spot on a lake. It usually takes on a fluorescent green hue, but can also be pink or blue in color. It usually has a foamy consistency that sits on the top of the water. It also has a very significant smell.

“It’s kind of like a rotten egg type of a smell, or other odor that’s really pungent,” Skuta said.

So far, Skuta said the metro area lakes aren’t showing signs of blue-green algae blooms, but they will continue to monitor the lakes.

If you suspect a lake has the toxic algae, it’s best to stay out of the water.

There is equipment and other options to treat a lake with blue-green algae, but it’s expensive and doesn’t eliminate the problem.

Many cities and the MPCA work to keep run-off out of the lakes through rain gardens and water diversion.

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