Puget Sound algae blooms puzzle scientists

Credit: KING / Hansonarch

KING 5 viewer Hanson took this photo of the algae bloom on Vashon Island.

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

kgw.com

Posted on June 19, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 11:52 PM

Scientists are amazed at the size and number of algae blooms staining the waters of Puget Sound.

The Department of Ecology has conducted flyovers of Puget Sound the last two days and what they saw has them searching for answers. They are hoping other agencies will sample and test water from the blooms to determine what they are and maybe where they came from.

A Department spokesman said they observed an unprecedented amount of blooms during the flyovers which included parts north and south Puget Sound and many were in areas they’ve never seen them before.

They know for sure they have large amounts of common Noctiluca algae, which looks like tomato soup, but they have not identified several other strains they observed.

King County water quality experts are attempting to sample and identify the blooms so that the Department of Ecology will know how serious the problem is.

Some strains of algae can cause problems for fish, wildlife and people. Large amounts can also threaten oxygen levels and other water quality concerns.

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