Blue-Green Algae Found in Lake Beaver is Not Toxic

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Blue-green algae, you can't always see it, but it's there.

In mid-September, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started receiving reports of a scummy looking substance in Beaver Lake in Benton County. After several studies it was concluded that the substance, blue-green algae, is not toxic.

While high concentrations of blue-green algae are present in parts of Beaver Lake, Sean Harper with the Army Corps of Engineers, said it is not harmful to animals living in the water and presents no significant health risks to people, either.

Harper said blue-green algae is usually found in warm, stagnant water.

"It's not unusual to see blue-green algae or any kind of algae in the late summer or early fall,” Harper said. “It's usually when the water temperature is the warmest, we have a lot of sunny days, there's not a lot of water movement around by wind and those conditions are just kind of great for algae growth."

According to the Beaver Water District, it is still safe to drink tap water; but Harper recommends not letting family pets consume stagnant water, especially when blue-green algae is present.

"Be aware that it's temporary, it's fairly common and there are no significant health risks,” Harper said. “But at the same time, if you see some algae don't jump and play in the water right there. Maybe go someplace where the algae is not accumulated."

JJ Bauman has been a manager at Arrowhead Boat Sales for 10 years. He said the blue-green algae is not a concern. 

"We've got a couple of kids. We boat, we go to the lake, we swim, we get in the lake, we water ski, my girls tube,” said Bauman. “The lake and the algae is of no concern to us. It's not dangerous, we really don't even think about it."

According to Harper, the blue-green algae in Beaver Lake will clear naturally and that it could be cleared as soon as the next few weeks, depending on the weather. 

While the form of blue-green algae in Beaver Lake is not toxic, it is a bacteria and can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, fever, muscle weakness and difficulty breathing.