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Harmful Blue-Green Algae Found On Lake Hefner

The blue-green algae is called cyanobacteria. It can release toxins that affect the liver and nervous system.
The blue-green algae is called cyanobacteria. It can release toxins that affect the liver and nervous system.

Harmful Blue-green algae have been found at Lake Hefner following recent heavy rains.

The microscopic organisms are naturally present in lakes and streams in low levels, but the algae can become more abundant during warm, calm and sunny weather.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality says heavy rains can produce runoff that increases the amount of excessive nutrients in bodies of water, creating an abundant food source for blue-green algae growth.

Experts say it's important to avoid skin contact with blue-green algae. Swimming is the most obvious exposure, and isn’t allowed on Oklahoma City lakes. People taking part in other recreational activities such as boating or fishing should take precautions and avoid areas with visible algae accumulation. Also, make sure pets don't drink the water.

Lake Hefner is one of Oklahoma City’s drinking water reservoirs, and the city says the water is still safe to drink. The treatment process brings water into the plant from well below where the algae blooms are. Any algae that enters the treatment process is removed, along with other toxins.

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