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The blue-green algae that can kill dogs has popped up in an Edina lake

People are being warned not to use a lake in the Twin Cities suburb of Edina, after algae levels reached a point where toxins in the water present a “public health risk.”

High levels of blue-green algae have been reported in Lake Cornelia, which brings with it high levels of “microcystin” – a toxin produced by the freshwater bacteria that can be harmful to human health and can even kill pets.

Part of the lake shore is next to Rosland Park, south of Highway 62.

The City of Edina, in a press release issued Saturday, said it is “urging residents to stay away from the water” while follow-up tests are conducted, and water officials come up with a strategy for solving the problem.

What exactly is blue-green algae?

Blue green algae isn’t actually an algae, but a freshwater bacteria called cyanobacteria. With foul-smelling blooms that resemble pea soup, it generally presents during warm weather when the water is stagnant and rich in nutrients.

Exposure to the toxins can be harmful to liver and kidney functions, with symptoms of poisoning including jaundice, shock, abdominal pain, weakness, nausea, vomiting, severe thirst and a rapid pulse.

Pets are more at risk. Blooms reported in Minnesota back in spring resulted in the death of several dogs.

“The City is working with Nine Mile Creek Watershed District and an engineering consultant to strategize solutions for the problem,” said Edina water resources coordinator Jessica Vanderwerff Wilson.

The presence of algae has presented even though the lake is treated twice a year by restoration companies, the city says.

The city will hold a meeting with residents to discuss solutions in November.

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