County warns of toxic blue-green algae at Round Lake in Camas

Public Health says tests continue to show elevated levels of dangerous cyanotoxins in the water

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Signs warn against toxic algae at Round Lake in Camas. (Post-Record files)

Clark County Public Health has upgraded its toxic blue-green algae advisory at Round Lake in Camas after test results revealed elevated levels of cyanotoxins in the water.

In a press release, the county states that results continue to show elevated levels of toxins in the water at Lacamas Lake, so the warning advisory at that lake will remain in place.

Public Health is advising people to avoid direct contact with all water in both Lacamas and Round Lake.

Results from water samples taken from Lacamas and Round lakes on Monday, June 22, revealed cyanotoxins above the threshold levels recommended by the Washington Department of Health. The caution signs at Round Lake are being replaced with warning signs.

Cyanotoxins can be harmful to people, especially young children, and deadly for small pets that drink the water. Health officials recommend:

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

Public Health will continue to monitor Lacamas and Round lakes in Camas and, as long as blooms are present, take weekly water samples to test toxin levels. Signs will be updated as conditions change.

Heritage Park and Lacamas Regional Park restrooms and shelters are currently open. 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 physical distancing is maintained.

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 could cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Skin contact could lead to rash, itching, blisters and eye irritation.

If water with cyanotoxins is accidentally swallowed, symptoms could include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, numbness of the lips, tingling in fingers and toes, and dizziness.

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.