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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Jane Mountjoy-Venning, Thurston County Environmental Health Division, (360) 867-2643
Art Starry, Thurston County Environmental Health Division at (360) 867-2587

Toxic Algae Advisories in Effect for Four Thurston County Lakes
Swimmers, pet owners and anglers advised to avoid contact

Toxic blue-green algae advisories are now in effect for Black, Deep, Long and Pattison Lakes.A toxic blue-green algae advisory that went into effect for Deep Lake on October 16 continues. An advisory went into effect yesterday for Black Lake, and advisories were issued today for Pattison and Long Lakes. People are advised to stay out of the lakes until further notice. Anglers who fish any of the affected lakes are advised to practice catch and release until the advisories are lifted.

Water samples taken from Deep Lake and Black Lake on October 19 found the algae toxin Microcystin at 72 micrograms per liter of water (ug/L) and 88 micrograms ug/L, respectively. Samples taken from Pattison Lake on October 21 showed toxin levels at 152 ug/L, and results from samples taken from Long Lake on the same date showed toxin levels at 23 ug/L. All four lakes are well above the state standard of 6 micrograms per liter for recreational water use. Microcystin can cause liver poisoning in people and animals. Symptoms, which include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting in humans and death in animals, can take hours or days to appear.

"While most people aren't swimming outdoors at this time of year, children and pets may be undeterred by colder water temperatures," said Art Starry, Director of the county's Environmental Health Division. "We recommend that people stay out of the lakes and not risk getting sick. This is especially important for small children and pets, who are most susceptible to the effects of toxic blue-green algae."

Warning signs are posted at public access points, public boat launches and any other community access points on each lake. The lakes will be monitored weekly until algae levels are at or below the state standard and the advisories can be lifted.

While not all algae blooms are toxic, some algae can produce toxins that can harm the nervous system, the liver, the skin, and the stomach and intestines. Experts from the county's Environmental Health Division recommend a few simple tips to help prevent illness from algae:

  • Avoid swimming, wading, wind surfing and water-skiing in waters where algae blooms are present.
  • Don't drink untreated surface water.
  • Keep pets and livestock out of waters with algae blooms.
  • When fishing, catch-and-release is the safest practice. If you do eat your catch, clean any fish you catch thoroughly if you see algae blooms. Before eating, remove the internal organs, which may contain harmful algae toxins.
  • Avoid areas of scum when boating and clean your boat thoroughly.

WHAT:Toxic Algae Advisories for Black, Deep, Long and Pattison Lakes. No swimming, no pets, no fishing advised.
WHEN:Effective Immediately
WHERE:Health advisories are in effect for Black, Deep, Long and Pattison LakesAdvisories are posted at public and community access points and public boat launches on each lake.

For more information about toxic algae blooms and other water quality information, visit the Thurston County Environmental Health web pages at www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehadm/swimming/swimming_index.html.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3