Submitted by Thurston County Public Health Department
The Thurston County Public Health Department reports that levels of toxin from the algae bloom at Summit Lake are up once again above the recommendations for safe consumption. Reports show toxin levels at one of the samples sites are at 1.43 micrograms per liter, which is above the level of health concern of one microgram per liter. Lower levels of toxin were detected at two other sites.
Because toxins circulate in water, the Health Department continues to advise the public, and the Summit Lake community, not to drink or have contact with the lake water. The health warning for the lake will remain in place until samples are within safe levels for two consecutive weeks. The next sample results are expected on Thursday, June 22.
“We declared the health warning for Summit Lake on May 8,” said Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Rachel Wood. “The warning recommended that residents at the lake not drink the water, or have contact with the water in any way, including things like showers, laundry, and dishes.” She said, “The County is taking a very cautious approach. We don’t want to see anyone get sick as a result of this toxin.”
The Health Department received some reports of dead deer and geese at the lake during the bloom. The County responded to the reports but did not observe, collect or test dead animals, or find evidence confirming the reported deaths were related to the toxin. The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) received reports of animals but could not confirm the animal deaths directly related to toxin in Summit Lake. If a Summit Lake resident sees a dead animal in, or near, the lake, they should report it to the Health Department at 360-867-2626.
Summit Lake residents have formed a Water Quality Team to discuss their options moving forward. The Thurston County Board of Commissioners, together with the Health Department, are considering lessons learned and looking at long-term strategies to support the residents of Summit Lake in their efforts to maintain healthy and safe water.
For more information on Summit Lake, visit the Summit Lake Toxic Algae website. For more information about blue-green algae and the County lakes program, visit the County’s Blue-Green Algae Advisories website. The Health Department also maintains an updated information line for residents, 360-709-3080.