Submitted by Thurston County Environmental Health
Swimmers, pet owners and anglers advised to avoid contact
Lawrence Lake near Yelm is the latest area lake to receive an advisory for algae toxin this season. A recent water sample taken from Lawrence Lake detected microcystin algae toxin levels at 7.8 micrograms per liter of water—slightly above the state standard of 6 micrograms per liter for recreational water use. That means people and pets are advised to stay out of the water, and anglers are reminded that the safest bet in algae-prone waters is to catch and release.
“Lawrence Lake is pretty quiet this time of year, and the algae toxin level so far at is just over the advisory level. But there is a public boat launch open year-round for fishing, and quite a few lakefront homes, so we want to remind people to avoid any waters with visible algae and keep pets out of the lake,” Art Starry, Director of the county’s Environmental Health Division.
Warning signs will be posted at public access points around the lake, and area homeowners will be contacted. The lake will be monitored weekly until the algae bloom is over and the advisory 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 Advisory for Lawrence Lake
- No swimming, no pets, no fishing advised
WHEN: Effective Immediately
WHERE: Lawrence Lake is located about 10 miles south of Yelm. Public boat launch is located at the end of Pleasant Beach Drive SE.
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.