The recent warm sunny weather has increased the amount of toxic algae in a number of Pierce County lakes and has led to a toxic algae bloom in Steilacoom Lake. Toxic algal blooms can be harmful to people and pets and should be avoided.
As a general guideline for all Pierce County lakes, areas that have heavy concentrations of algae should be avoided. These areas are usually along portions of the shore and resemble green paint or pea soup.
Ingestion of the algae or prolonged contact with the algae may result in illness, such as muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or nausea. If you swallow a large amount of water containing the algae, please seek immediate medical attention. If a pet has recently (within several hours) ingested lake water with algae and is showing signs such as vomiting, lethargy, disorientation, or seizures it should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. For more information on toxic algae go to the Health Department’s website at tpchd.org and enter “toxic algae” in the search box.
The duration of the blooms is dependent upon weather conditions and biological factors. It is expected that the blooms are likely to pose a health concern for at least the next few weeks.
- General Use: Children and pets should be closely supervised when near the shoreline and kept away from areas that look like green paint or pea soup.
- Swimming/Water Skiing/Windsurfing: Swim or water ski in areas that don’t look like green paint or pea soup.
- Boating and Fishing: Boat and fish in areas that don’t look like green paint or pea soup.