Ionia County issues public health advisory on potentially harmful algae in Morrison lake

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Courtesy: The Great Lakes Business Network, Aerial Associates Photography, Inc. by Zachary Haslick

IONIA COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — After a consultation with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Ionia County Health Department is issuing a Public Health Advisory about algae found in Morrison Lake.

People and their pets should avoid direct contact with water that looks like spilled paint, water with a green sheen, and scummy water in the lake.

Algal blooms are typically not harmful to humans, but some cyanobacteria have the ability to produce toxins, resulting in a harmful algal bloom (HAB). The toxin that can create a harmful algal bloom was present in 5 of the 8 samples collected from Morrison Lake on June 30th, 2021.

According to a release from the Ionia County Health Department, HABs form though low sunlight, low-water or low-flow conditions, calm water, warmer temperatures, excess nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen. The primary sources of nutrient pollution are fertilizer runoff, animal manure, sewage treatment plant discharges, storm water runoff, car emissions, power plant emissions, and failing septic tanks.

If HABs are touched, swallowed, or inhaled- one could get a rash, allergic reaction, stomach ache, or feel dizzy.

Those who believe that they have been exposed to an algal bloom should take the following precautions:

  • Remove people from the exposure and seek medical treatment if symptoms occur.
  • Thoroughly rinse off pets with clean, fresh water if they swam in an area with an algal bloom. If they lick their fur after leaving the water, they may ingest large amounts of the toxin.
  • Seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible if you think your pet might have been poisoned by toxic algae.

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