WALTERVILLE, Ore. — A health advisory was issued Friday reporting the Walterville Pond’s blue-green Algae levels are unsafe for visitors.
Officials are warning residents in the area to be cautious.
Lane County Public Health officials said the blue-green algae is naturally occurring and is actually always in our water systems. But during the warm months as water temperatures rise, it replicates and rises to the top more often. It’s during these times that officials encourage folks to take caution when deciding where and how to cool off in the heat.
“It’s a variety of bacteria, and they produce toxins that can cause problems with humans and animals,” said Dr. Patrick Luedtke, Senior Public Health Officer.
So when levels of them get too high in places people like to recreate, there’s definitely concern.
“I keep away from it. Anywhere there’s water, we just won’t take the dogs where there’s water at all in the summertime,” said Cara Collum.
Officials said they aren’t trying to scare folks off, but they just want them to be aware of the potential danger.
Exposure to high levels of the the toxins can result in skin irritation, dizziness and difficulty breathing or heart problems that require medical attention.
“For the vast amount of people, it’s not dangerous. It’s an annoyance. It’s bothersome. But for a few people, it could be more serious than that, which is why Public Health and Safety look at things for all people,” said Dr. Luedtke.
However, it seemed like people were taking heed as it was quiet near the pond Saturday and they said it’s not much of a water park anyway.
“It’s rare to see people out on the water or even playing in it,” said John Lemmer.
Those who frequent the pond said others just need to use common sense.
“Just stay away until it clears up,” Lemmer said.
That was what one kayaker did when she found out about the advisory.
While you can’t get in the water, it’s not a total loss.
“It’s just a great place to come and walk around the lake and enjoy. There’s beautiful scenery out herem, so there’s much more out here to do than just go into the water,” Lemmer said.
If you still plan to come down to Walterville Pond, officials are encouraging people to take the proper precautions to avoid contact with water.
As of yet, no one, not even a dog, has been reported dying from blue-green algae, but officials want to keep it that way. So they’re encouraging people to consider other watering holes until algae levels are safe again.