An algae bloom in Black Lake that's been lurking for several weeks has now dissipated, and county health officials have lifted the toxic algae advisory at the popular lake.
While the warning signs that were posted at beaches and boat launches around Black Lake are now gone, county health officials remind people and pet owners to avoid any waters with visible algae.
"Our lakes are obviously very popular this time of year, but conditions can change quickly, so we want to remind people to look for visible algae blooms and avoid swimming, fishing and recreating in areas where blooms are present," said Art Starry, Director of the county's Environmental Health Division. "The same advice goes for pets. Pet owners should also keep their pets out of waters with visible algae."
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.
For more tips and information on how to swim safe, fish safe, and avoid common swimming illnesses and hazards, visit the Thurston County Environmental Health web pages at www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehadm/swimming/swimming_index.html