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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, December 4, 2017
Gabrielle Byrne, Public Information Specialist, (360) 867-2514 or byrneg@co.thurston.wa.us

Toxic Algae Health Warning In Effect for Summit Lake
Toxin levels above the level for health concern

OLYMPIA – Summit Lake has a toxic algae bloom. A resident at Summit Lake reported an algae bloom on the afternoon of November 29, 2017. Thurston County Public Health and Social Services lake staff notified the community on the November 29, via the algae alert email list. The lake was surveyed and a sample was collected for testing on November 30, 2017. 

Many residents of the Summit Lake community get their drinking water from the lake. Today, the Thurston County Public Health & Social Services Department received lab results showing that the bloom is producing high levels of microcystin. Reports show toxin levels at the sample site are 0.8 micrograms per liter. The EPA advisory level for drinking water is 0.3 micrograms per liter for children and 1.6 micrograms for adults. 

Microcystin is a liver toxin which accumulates over time. High accumulation of this toxin can cause sickness, or even death. 

Thurston County Public Health and Social Services recommends that children, along with pregnant and breastfeeding women, do not drink the lake water. Filtration, boiling, and other water treatment methods do not remove or deactivate the algae toxin.

Public Health also advises residents and the public:
  • Not to use the lake water to mix formula or other children’s food/drink.
  • Not to rinse food for children in the lake water.
  • Not to have children use the lake water for teeth brushing.
Camp Thunderbird—the Boy Scout camp located at 11740 Summit Lake Road NW is available for residents to use as a safe source of drinking water. The water station will be open starting Tuesday, December 5, 2017, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. It is the same water faucet as used earlier this year. Bring suitable containers for water collection. There will not be containers or volunteers available at the faucet to assist. 

“Our primary concern is for public safety,” said Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Rachel Wood. “Because children’s bodies are smaller and still growing, it is important to not use the lake water to feed them or mix formula. Although EPA guidance has no data for pregnant and breastfeeding women for safety’s sake we recommend they also do not drink the water.”

The health warning for Summit Lake will remain in place until samples are within safe levels for two consecutive weeks. Testing will continue until the samples are within safe limits for two consecutive weeks. 

For more information on Summit Lake, visit the Summit Lake Toxic Algae website. For more information about blue-green algae, frequently asked questions, and the County lakes program, visit the County’s Blue-Green Algae Advisories website. You can sign up to receive email algae alerts on the website or by calling 360-867-2645. The Health Department also maintains an updated information line for residents at (360) 709-3080. 


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3