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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, December 28, 2012
Contact:
Art Starry, Environmental Health Division, (360) 867-2587

Algae Advisory Lifted for Clear Lake


Stubborn algae blooms that had clouded Clear Lake since September have finally cleared, leading county health officials to lift the advisory for swimmers and fishers at the popular lake.

While algae blooms have died off at Clear Lake, algae continues to cloud areas of Black Lake, and the health advisory signs will remain posted until the algae blooms clear.

Algae was also spotted in Long Lake in November, but tests showed no dangerous algae toxin levels. While no warning signs are posted at Long Lake, health officials remind people that it's best to keep people and pets out of any water near algae blooms no matter the season.

"Obviously our lakes are pretty quiet this time of year, but we want to remind people to steer clear of algae blooms if they're planning a polar bear plunge or taking their dog for a swim or doing any fishing. Algae blooms are not just a summertime phenomenon," said Art Starry, Director of the county's Environmental Health Division.

"Algae toxin levels can vary widely, even in the same lake, so as a precaution we're keeping the signs posted at Black Lake and reminding people to stay out of the water where they see algae blooms," said Starry. "And it's always a good idea to clean any fish you catch thoroughly."

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 of people and animals. Following these simple tips can help prevent illness from algae:
  • Avoid areas of scum when boating and clean your boat thoroughly.

  • Clean any fish you catch thoroughly. Before eating, remove the internal organs, which may contain a build-up of harmful algae toxins.

  • Avoid swimming, wading, wind surfing and water-skiing in waters where algae blooms are present.

  • Don't drink untreated lake water or surface water.

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

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.


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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3