Blue-Green/Toxic Algae
 IMG_6179 (Large)


Blue-green algae
(cyanobateria) occur naturally and can produce toxins.  Cyanobacteria are found throughout the world on land, in lakes, rivers, ponds and in estuaries and seawater (oceans). Blooms occur when conditions are favorable, meaning the correct amount of sunlight, temperature and nutrients are present.  Blooms are often found in standing water in lakes and ponds and in ditches or lagoons.  Many cyanobacteria species can regulate their buoyancy, so they often rise to the surface of the water to form a "surface scum". The "scum" often looks like green paint spread across the water, but algae can also form a dense clump that resembles pellets.  Wind and other conditions can change the amount and location of algae. 

Many cyanobacterial blooms occur during warm summer and early fall month, but in Washington, toxic blooms also occur during colder winter months. 

Toxic Algae can Make you sick.

If you swallow water with toxic algae, it can make you sick within minutes to hours.  Kids are more at risk because their bodies are smaller.  Talk to your doctor if you have these symptoms. 

  *Muscle weakness

Skin contact with toxic algae can cause irritation or a rash. 

If you think you got sick after swimming, contact us via email or at (360) 249-4222.

Toxic Algae can make your pets sick too.

Reports of dogs getting sick or dying after swimming in ponds, lakes and streams are more common during summer months.  After playing in water, pets are more likely to get sick from toxic algae because:

  *Their bodies are smaller.
  *They may drink water containing toxic algae.
  *They lick or groom their fur. 

Talk to a vet if your pet shows theses symptoms after contact with water:

  *Difficulty breathing
  *General weakness

Can I eat fish from toxic algae contaminated water? 
Avoid eating fish from areas with visible algae.  Always clean fish well and discard the guts.

What should I do if I see an algae bloom?
  *Do not drink lake water
  *Do not play in water with visible algae
  *Keep your family and pets away
  *When in doubt, stay out
  *Let us know if you see algae at a body of water that is not already posted with signage.     

Please call us at (360) 249-4222 with location details. 


Washington State Department of Health
Ecology's - Freshwater Algae Control Program
EPA - Harmful Algal Blooms