Environmental Health > Hazards & Toxics

Algal Blooms

When algal blooms are toxic, they can be harmful to the health of you, your family, your animals, & the Palouse ecosystem.

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Latest Testing Results from Monitored Algal Blooms

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Snake River HAB Testing Results

View comprehensive list here.

Images from Tested Areas

Central Ferry

Wawawai Landing

Algal Bloom Factsheet

Harmful Algal Blooms flyer

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is blue-green algae?

A: Blue-green algae (also called cyanobacteria) is found in fresh water. Blue-green algae is natural, and a source of food and shelter for marine life. When conditions are right, blue-green algae can multiply and "bloom" into algal blooms. Harmful algal blooms can create toxins that are a threat to the health of people, animals, and the environment.

Q: Are all algal blooms toxic?

A: Not all blooms produce toxins. The only way to know if a bloom is toxic is by testing it. All blooms should be considered toxic unless they have been tested and are negative.

Q: What do algal blooms look like?

A: These blooms will appear on the surface of water as a scum, and are green, blue, brown, and/or sometimes red. Their appearance is often described as looking like spilled paint on the surface of the water.

Q: What should I do if I think I’ve found a algal bloom?

A: To report a bloom in Whitman County, call our office at 509.332.6752 or email us at EH@whitmancounty.net. Taking photos of the bloom is also recommended. You should also stay out of areas you believe have a bloom.

Report a Suspect Bloom

Suspected blooms in Whitman County can be reported here.

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Program Contact

If you have any questions, please contact us at 509-397-6280 or email us at EH@whitmancounty.net.

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