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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 28, 2012
Art Starry, Environmental Health Division at (360) 867-2587
Sue Davis, Environmental Health Division at (360) 867-2643

Toxic Algae Again in Black Lake, No Swimming Advisory Posted

Black Lake has another toxic algae bloom, and that means people and pets are once again advised to stay out of the water. Swimming or water-skiing in water with algae toxins or drinking it can lead to serious illness. Anglers who fish Black Lake are also advised to clean their catch thoroughly to avoid illness from the algae toxin that can build up over time in fish.

The county's Kenneydell Park includes a swimming beach along a portion of Black Lake, and there are numerous public access points and private docks and beaches. Staff from the county's Environmental Health Division will be posting "no swimming" advisory signs at public access points, and asking the caretakers of community beaches around Black Lake to do the same. Environmental Health staff will also contact lakeshore residents with "no swimming" advisory information. The signs will remain posted until the algae bloom recedes and water quality tests show and toxin levels once again drop below the state standard for recreational water use.

County health officials also noted that the toxic algae advisory for Clear Lake near Yelm posted on September 24 remains in effect since the latest water quality tests show that algae toxin levels continue to exceed the state standard.

County health officials will continue to monitor water quality at both Black Lake and Clear Lake.

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. Following these simple tips can 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.

  • Clean any fish you catch thoroughly if you see algae blooms. Before eating, remove the internal organs, which may contain harmful algae toxins.

  • Keep pets and livestock out of waters with algae blooms.

  • Avoid areas of scum when boating and clean your boat thoroughly.

County health officials noted that the current algae blooms in Black Lake appear to be thicker and drift closer to shore compared to the bloom in August that led to a the first no swimming advisory. These thicker areas of scum can have higher concentrations of the microcystin toxin, and people are warned to take caution where they see thick layers of scum and to keep children and pets out of the water.

WHAT:Toxic Algae Advisory for Black Lake/Kenneydell Park
  • No swimming advisory for all of Black Lake

WHEN:Effective Immediately

WHERE:Kenneydell Park is located at 6745 SW Fairview Road, southwest of Tumwater city limits

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.

For updated information about the Kenneydell Park, as well as information about other county parks, visit the Thurston County Parks and Recreation Services web pages at www.co.thurston.wa.us/parks/.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3