Public Health issues danger advisory for Vancouver Lake due to elevated toxin levels

Published Date

Clark County Public Health is upgrading its advisory at Vancouver Lake to danger after test results revealed elevated levels of cyanotoxins in the water. The cyanobacteria bloom continues to cover most of the lake.

Results from water samples taken from Vancouver Lake on Monday revealed cyanotoxins above the threshold levels recommended by the Washington State Department of Health. Given the elevated toxin levels and the extensive cyanobacteria bloom at the lake, Public Health is upgrading its current advisory to danger and advising against all recreation on the lake.

Danger signs are being posted at the swim beach and other public access points to the lake. Public Health is advising against all recreating on the lake, including swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing and water skiing, and pets should be kept out of the water. Public Health is also advising against fishing at Vancouver Lake.

The warning advisory at Lacamas Lake remains in place, as water samples continue to show elevated toxin levels. Public Health is advising people to avoid direct contact with all water at Lacamas Lake.

Water samples from Round Lake show toxin levels below threshold levels, but the algae bloom is still present at the lake. As a result, Public Health is downgrading that advisory to caution. People should avoid areas of scum in the water.

As long as algae are present, toxin levels could increase as conditions at the lakes change. Public Health will continue to monitor the algae blooms at the lakes and, as long as the blooms are present, will take weekly water samples to test toxin levels. Signs will be updated as conditions change.

Blooms of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can pose a significant health risk if the cyanobacteria or toxins are ingested, inhaled or come into contact with skin. Inhaled bacteria or toxins can cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Skin contact can lead to rash, itching, blisters and eye irritation.

If water with cyanotoxins is accidentally swallowed, symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, numbness of the lips, tingling in fingers and toes, and dizziness. The toxins can be fatal to pets that drink the water.

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