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Friday, February 23, 2024
Feb. 23, 2024

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Clark County Public Health issues algae blooms warning for Lacamas Lake

By , Columbian staff writer

Clark County Public Health issued a warning advisory Friday for Lacamas Lake due to elevated levels of cyanotoxins from harmful algae.

According to a statement from Public Health, results from water samples taken from Lacamas Lake on Wednesday revealed cyanotoxins above the threshold level recommended by the Washington Department of Health. Warning signs are being placed at public access points at the lake.

Cyanotoxins can be harmful to people, especially young children, and deadly for small pets that drink the water. When a warning advisory is in place, health officials recommend: no swimming or water skiing, no water contact for animals and avoiding areas of scum when using motorized boats, paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing. Fish caught at the lake should be cleaned well and the organs discarded. Do not drink water from the lake.

Public Health will continue to monitor Lacamas Lake and take weekly water samples to test toxin levels while blooms are present. Signs will be updated as conditions change.

Algal blooms are also present at Vancouver Lake and Round Lake in Camas, but results from water samples collected this week show toxin levels below state threshold levels. Public Health will continue to monitor Vancouver and Round lakes and take weekly water samples to test toxin levels as long as blooms are present.

Harmful algal blooms can pose a significant health risk if the cyanobacteria or toxins are ingested, inhaled or contact skin. Inhaled bacteria or toxins could cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Skin contact could lead to rash, itching, blisters and eye irritation.

If water with cyanotoxins is accidentally swallowed, symptoms could include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, numbness of the lips, tingling in fingers and toes, and dizziness.

To report blooms or for additional information and current advisories, go to http://www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/report-health-concern.