Cowlitz County’s Health Department has posted Level 2 cautionary signs around Silver Lake after a sample for algae toxins from earlier this week came back today above the acceptable level for recreational water. An algae bloom was discovered while routinely monitoring the lake. Algae blooms are usually green and scummy, or give the water an overall green or blue-green color.
Some species of algae produce toxins that can be harmful to humans and pets if they swallow or come into contact with the water. The Level 2 cautionary signs clearly state that people and animals should stay out of the water. More toxin test results are expected early next week. Signs will be removed when the bloom goes away and toxin levels are confirmed below the safety threshold.
Symptoms of exposure to certain algae toxins include stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, blurred vision, convulsions, or severe muscle and joint pains.
There have been no reports of illness in people or animals from contact with Silver Lake. Fish are safe to eat as long as they are cleaned well and the digestive organs are removed. Drinking water from public water systems or private wells in the areas around the lake is not affected by the lake water and is safe to drink.
If you have physical symptoms, please see a health care provider. More information on algae can be found at http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/algae. To contact the Health & Human Services Departments, please call 360-414-5599.