In an effort to keep the public informed and to ensure public safety, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is sharing information with the public about the increased presence of harmful cyanobacterial blooms (HCBs) in the state’s waters. HCBs typically occur in still or slow-moving water as temperatures increase during the summer. They are episodic and can last for a few hours or a number of months.
Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can form blooms that produce toxins and other irritants that pose a risk to human, pet, and livestock health. The Wyoming Department of Health issues a recreational use advisory for publicly accessible waterbodies once DEQ determines that harmful levels of cyanobacteria and/or toxins are present in the water.
State agencies are reminding the public to check on current recreational use advisories by visiting this webpage. Suspected HCBs can be reported to DEQ by calling a Report a Spill hotline or submitting a complaint online.
In addition, Wyoming state agencies recommend the following if a bloom is present:
- Avoid contact with water in the vicinity of the bloom, especially in areas where cyanobacteria are dense and form scum.
- Do not ingest water from the bloom. Boiling, filtration, and/or other treatments will not remove toxins.
- Rinse fish with clean water and eat only the fillet portion.
- Avoid water spray from the bloom.
- Do not allow pets or livestock to drink water near the bloom, eat bloom material or lick fur after contact.
- If people, pets, or livestock come into contact with a bloom, rinse off with clean water as soon as possible.
- Seek medical attention or a veterinarian if a person or animal is experiencing adverse health effects after exposure to a cyanobacterial bloom. Young children, pregnant women, people with weak immune systems, and animals are especially at risk.