Public Health issues warning for Vancouver Lake due to elevated toxin levels

Clark County Public Health issues warning advisory at Vancouver Lake due to elevated levels of cyanotoxins from harmful algae, posing health risks for people and small pets. The warning advisory at Lacamas Lake also remains in place.
Clark County Public Health issues warning advisory at Vancouver Lake due to elevated levels of cyanotoxins from harmful algae, posing health risks for people and small pets. The warning advisory at Lacamas Lake also remains in place. File photo.

The warning advisory at Lacamas Lake also remains in place

VANCOUVER – Clark County Public Health has issued a warning advisory at Vancouver Lake due to elevated levels of cyanotoxins from harmful algae. The warning advisory at Lacamas Lake also remains in place.

Public Health has been monitoring harmful algal blooms at Vancouver Lake since early July. Results from water samples taken from the lake on Monday revealed cyanotoxins above the threshold levels recommended by the Washington Department of Health. Warning signs are being placed at public access points at the lake. 

Public Health issued a warning advisory for Lacamas Lake on July 7. Results from water samples taken from Lacamas Lake on Monday indicated toxin levels remain elevated 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.
  • Avoiding areas of scum when using motorized boats, paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing.
  • No drinking lake water.
  • Cleaning fish well and discarding organs.

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

Vancouver Lake Regional Park and Heritage Park remain open. Water in park restrooms and shelters is not affected by lake water and remains safe to drink.

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.

Additional information about harmful algal blooms and current advisories are posted on the Public Health public beach website. To report algal blooms in other bodies of water, visit the Public Health website.

Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.


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