GRAND LAKE – Blue green algae blooms were reported in the Ketchum Cove area of Grand Lake, said Justin Alberty, Grand River Dam Authority spokesman on Wednesday.
Water quality testing performed recently by the GRDA Ecosystems and Watershed Management Department confirmed the bloom, he said.
“Although most algae blooms are not toxic, toxins can be produced in some algae blooms dominated by Blue-Green Algae,” Alberty said. “We have communicated these test results to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. Right now, we are closely monitoring the area and will provide regular updates as the situation progresses.”
The bloom extends from Hammerhead Marina boat ramp eastward toward Colony Cove.
GRDA is advising the public to use extra precaution in this area of the lake as the situation can change rapidly and the bloom can concentrate as it is pushed by the wind and waves.
No algae blooms have been confirmed in any other areas of Grand Lake.
“Grand is a large lake, with plenty of room for the public to come out and enjoy,” said Alberty. “We encourage everyone to play safe and please be aware of this current BGA presence.”
The algae resembles a thick pea soup, green paint or bluish, brownish, or reddish-green paint. When washed up on shore, the algae forms a thick mat on the beach.
It is recommended that individuals avoid swimming or participating in water recreational activities in areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water, Alberty said.
Exposure can cause skin irritation, including rashes, hives, or blisters. Inhalation can also trigger asthma-like conditions or allergic reactions, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health.
Ingestion of the water can cause stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Municipalities that draw raw water from this area should be taking the necessary steps to ensure the quality of their water by utilizing their water treatment systems, and lake residents who draw water from this area should avoid consumption of and contact with the water until further notice. Simply boiling water does not remove the toxins from the water.
If you see a Blue-Green Algae bloom, the Department of Environmental Quality recommends that you avoid all contact with the water, keep your pets and livestock away from the water and immediately contact ODEQ at (800) 522 0206 or GRDA at (918) 256 0911.