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Woodland Lake tests positive for cyanobacteria

Residents along Woodland Lake in Brighton are being advised to avoid contact with portions of the lake due to a bacterial outbreak.

According to a message sent from Heather Blair, the Director of Environmental Health/Deputy Health Officer for the Livingston County Health Department (LCHD), a Woodland Lake resident noticed what appeared to be streaks of spilled paint on the lake and contacted the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). A sample collected by the LCHD on September 5th tested positive for cyanobacteria, a harmful algal bloom containing toxins.

“It is advised that people and their pets avoid areas of scum in the water, water that looks like spilled paint, or water that looks green,” stated the notice, which is also posted on the Woodland Lake association page. “Unless the bloom covers a large portion of the lake, people can limit their exposure by using an unaffected part of the lake.”

Although the positive tests were located along a small section of shoreline, residents and others were advised to be on the lookout for signs of the algae before entering the water or allowing their pets in the lake.

“The appearance of algae is not unusual in the summer and fall and has been appearing in a growing number of Michigan lakes. You should be on the lookout for the presence of visible algae or scum on any lake,” said the notice.

It went on to say that Cyanobacteria, also known as blue‐green algae, has the appearance of a light green scum and streaks of spilled paint. It is naturally occurring and common in many lakes. When conditions are right, such as plenty of nutrients, warm temperatures, sunlight, and relatively calm conditions, the cyanobacteria can bloom.

“Unfortunately, these bacteria can produce toxins, called cyanotoxins, that can make humans and animals sick when swallowed. Dogs are especially susceptible,” stated Blair.

“Swallowing the water can make humans and animals feel sick – do not swallow lake water while swimming. Humans can have an allergic reaction to the algae when it contacts their skin. If you need to enter the water where algae are present, rinse off as soon as possible. Dogs which come in contact with lake water should be rinsed off as soon as possible.”

Anyone or their pets who become sick after contact with the water are advised to call their doctor or veterinarian and to please report any related illnesses to the Livingston County Health Department at 517‐546‐9850.

Animal illnesses should be reported to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Animal Industry Division (AID), at 800‐292‐3939.

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