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City investigates possible toxic algae in Bull Creek

Monday, August 9, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano

Out of an abundance of caution, city officials are warning the public about the possible presence of toxic algae in Bull Creek. According to a press release, the city was informed of a possible exposure on Aug. 5 and is investigating the situation. Preliminary lab results from water and algae samples are expected this week. Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, can produce toxins that are harmful to people and deadly to dogs. From the news release: “We are currently monitoring Lady Bird Lake and Lake Austin for harmful algae every other week. This summer we have detected low levels of dihydroanatoxin in algae at Red Bud Isle since June. We have had isolated positive tests for dihydroanatoxin at Walsh Boat Landing in June and Jessica Hollis Park in March …. To date, the city of Austin has only detected toxins in mats of algae that can be found growing on the bottom of the lake or floating on the surface. This means exposure would come through touching or swallowing visible algae. The city is aware of five dogs who died after swimming in Lady Bird Lake in 2019 and warning signs have been posted there for this reason.” Citizens may find more information about the algae on the city web page dedicated to the topic. Anyone who believes they or their dogs have been exposed is encouraged to call 311.

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