Dog deaths at local reservoirmay be linked to algae toxins

Safety of drinking water for Hillsboro, Peabody and Marion not an issue, officials say.

The death of three dogs possibly linked to the blue-green algae bloom at Marion Reservoir should not alarm residents of Marion County?s three largest cities about the safety of their drinking water, according to county officials.

Bobbi Strait, director of sanitation and environmental health for Marion County, told the Board of Commissioners Mon day that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment had recommended that Hillsboro and Marion water-treatment plants use additional carbon to process water after four dogs became ill at Marion Reservoir over the weekend.

Strait said the Hillsboro plant had already increased its use of carbon after earlier detecting an odor in the water, and Marion?s plant would make needed adjustments that morning.

Marion veterinarian Jessica Laurin, who also attended the meeting, said three dogs apparently died from internal bleeding after exposure to water at the reservoir.

Laurin said the fourth dog survived, but was hospitalized after being taken to Wichita. All of the dogs suffered similar symptoms, which included bleeding confined to the gastrointestinal tract.

After testing the dogs,
Laurin said she called a toxicologist, who reported the results were typical of toxins associated with algae bloom.

Laurin said the dogs were exposed to the water Friday or Saturday.

Strait told commissioners she pulled water samples Sunday from areas where the dogs had been but didn?t find anything that indicated algae bloom. She also said she sent samples to Nebraska to be tested.

?We feel it?s a very low risk to humans,? said Strait about possible ill effects of algae bloom for people who come in contact with water at the reservoir.

Strait reported finding no odor or discoloration that would indicate algae bloom in her test samples. But the wind on Sunday may have distilled or dispersed any concentrations of algae bloom.

As a safety precaution, Strait said, humans should shower if they come in contact with the water.

People who bring dogs to the reservoir should monitor their whereabouts, take fresh drinking water, bathe them after being in the water and check for ticks.

?That?s something (dog owners) should always do (anytime the dogs play in lake water),? Strait said.

Hillsboro Mayor Delores Dalke confirmed Monday afternoon that carbon filtering and peroxide had been increased at the local water-treatment plant prior to this past weekend because of an odor in the water.

?Residents of Hillsboro and Peabody need to know that our water is safe and that people do need to be concerned about consuming it,? she said.

Dalke said it was her understanding that KDHE would officially release information about the weekend incident to the public on Tuesday.

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