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Health advisory: No swimming, water skiing at Lacamas Lake

Elevated levels of cyanotoxins were found in water samples taken at the lake Monday.
Credit: KGW
Lacamas Lake in Clark County, Washington.

CLARK COUNTY, Wash. — People should avoid swimming or skiing at Lacamas Lake and pets should be kept away from the water after Clark County Public Health (CCPH) issued a warning advisory after high levels of cyanotoxins were found in the water.

Lacamas Lake is located in Clark County, a few miles north of Camas. This is the second time in the past month that CCPH has issued a warning advisory because of elevated cyanotoxins in the lake.

The warning advisory comes with the following recommendations, which will be posted on signs at the lake:

  • Don't swim or water ski in the lake
  • Don't allow animals to have any contact with the water
  • Avoid any areas of scum when using motorized boats, paddle boards, kayaks or canoes
  • Don't drink water from the lake
  • Clean any fish well and throw away their organs

Health officials will take weekly water samples while algae blooms are present, CCPH said. They've been monitoring the blooms since early last month and issued a warning advisory in July that was lifted after a couple weeks. But samples taken from the lake Monday showed cyanotoxin levels had again exceeded levels recommended by the Washington Department of Health.

If algae blooms with cyanobacteria or toxins are ingested or inhaled, they can cause wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. If they come into contact with skin, they can cause a rash, itching, blisters and eye irritation. If water with cyanotoxins is swallowed, it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, numbness of the lips, tingling in fingers and toes, and dizziness.

RELATED: Stay out of the water at Lacamas Lake and Vancouver Lake, health officials say (October 2020)

RELATED: Preventing algae blooms at Ross Island lagoon (August 2018)

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