Algae bloom toxins create a persistent problem in Fernan Lake



Posted on July 14, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 14 at 8:12 AM

KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho--Health officials in North Idaho warned the public Friday about harmful toxins in Fernan Lake. Officials said big algae blooms could produce harmful toxins and it happened almost every summer.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality said the algae problem continued to grow each year. Researchers were considering methods to fix the problem in 2014.

"I would be concerned. Except that this is nothing new to those of us that have been around here for 20 years,” said homeowner Niel Nemec.

READ: Toxin-producing algae found in N. Idaho lake

Nemec admitted the problem was frustrating.

"Well, of course it is. It's an interruption of a wonderful, beautiful summer. We have this gem of a lake and now it's being interrupted by this bloom,” said Nemec.

The unique type of blue-green algae could produce harmful toxins that could cause stomach flu and liver damage. Health officials warned people about coming in contact with the water.
"I worry more about people that aren't as knowledgeable, don't read the newspapers, or don't look at the signs and believe them,” said Nemec.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality said there were ways to fix the problem. They just had to figure out which way was the best. The department was working with researchers from the University of Idaho to study the algae blooms.

"It's just such a wonderful location, so accessible, so beautiful that we want to maintain it as long as we can,” said Nemec.

There had been no documented illnesses related to the algae blooms as of Friday.