Blue-green algae advisories issued at Lacamas, Round lakes in Camas

Toxins in water can cause serious health problems if they contact skin or are inhaled, ingested; county to post signs today

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(Post-Record file photo) Signs posted at various entry points near Lacamas and Round lakes in Camas warn people to avoid contact with the water due to a possible bloom of toxic blue-green algae, which can harm animals and humans, in 2015. The county today issued advisories warning of another potential outbreak in both lakes.

Clark County Public Health has issued blue-green algae advisories for Lacamas and Round Lake in Camas due to a bloom of cyanobacteria, a toxin that can cause significant health risks to humans and animals if ingested, inhaled or through contact with the 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.

Public Health collected water samples from each lake; results are expected next week. 

Warning signs will be posted at entry points of the lakes today. The warning advisory will be re-evaluated once water sample results return. The lakes will remain under advisory as long as blooms are present, but the advisory may be downgraded if the results show there are no toxins in the water.

As long as algae are present, toxin levels could increase as conditions at the lake change. Health officials recommend:

  • No swimming, water skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing.
  • No drinking lake water.
  • No water contact for animals.
  • Avoiding areas of scum when using motorized boats.

Public Health will continue to monitor the lake and take weekly water samples to test toxin levels. Water samples will be collected again next week. Signs will be updated as conditions change.

Camas Heritage Park and Lacamas Regional Park have closed restrooms, shelters, and other facilities due to Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Water in park restrooms and drinking fountains is not affected by lake water and remains safe to drink. Heritage Trail and walking paths remain open for use as long as social distancing is maintained.

Additional information 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.