1-16-20 Algae Bloom

The city of Maryville advised that direct contact with Mozingo Lake may be dangerous to humans and pets because of a cyanobacteria bloom. Drinking water remains safe, however.

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Direct contact with Mozingo Lake should be avoided, but drinking water remains safe, the city of Maryville said in a press release Wednesday.

A cyanobacteria bloom, the city said, is the cause of the precautionary warning. Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are capable of producing cyanotoxins, which are dangerous and potentially fatal to humans when ingested in high levels. The city said in its release that in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, it has conducted multiple tests and have had no detection of cyanotoxins to date.

Nonetheless, as a precaution, the city, the state Department of Health and Senior Services and the Nodaway County Health Department are advising individuals to avoid contact with the raw lake water and keep pets away from the lake. Skin contact with affected water may cause skin, eye, nose, throat and respiratory irritation including asthma-like symptoms. Ingestion of raw lake water can result in gastrointestinal upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe headache and fever, the city’s release said.

A warning sign has been posted at the lake, notifying the public that harmful algae may be present.

Drinking water supplied by the city of Maryville remains safe and meets the public drinking water rules and regulations established by the Department of Natural Resources, the city said in its press release. Treated drinking water is continuously monitored and tested, and testing of untreated water for cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins is ongoing. Increased filtration methods have been put in place as a preventative measure.

To prevent illness, the city advises to:

  • Avoid contact with any portion of Mozingo Lake, including parts that appear normal
  • Keep children, pets and livestock away from contact with lake water
  • If humans or animals come in contact with lake water, immediately wash skin with soap and clean water
  • Never drink untreated water
  • If a person or animal experiences symptoms after coming into contact with lake water, seek medical care
  • Do not eat fish caught in the lake

When test results return to acceptable levels, advisory signage for recreational activity at Mozingo Lake will be lifted.

More information about cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins is available through the DNR, DHSS and federal EPA websites.

Follow us on Twitter @TheDailyForum