Harmful Algae Blooms Found in Washington Lakes and Rivers

Veronica Farias
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East Wenatchee, WA – Washington State Department of Health is advising the public to take precautions during water recreation. Harmful algae blooms have been found in some Washington lakes and rivers this summer.

Fresh water algae blooms caused by cyanobacteria are most common in lakes but can occur in rivers and streams where the water is warm, slow moving and stagnant. The extreme heat this summer and lower than normal water levels can create an ideal environment for cyanobacteria to grow.

Toxicity from the algae blooms can vary from day-to-day and it is not possible to tell how dangerous the bloom is by simply looking at it. Only testing can determine whether or not the bloom is dangerous.

Please take the following precautions when choosing a body of water for recreation:

  • Look for signs of algae blooms and pay attention to signage. When in doubt, stay out!
  • Do not swim in and limit exposure to water that is under a health advisory or is listed as having a toxic algae bloom on the Washington State Department of Ecology toxic algae tracking site.
  • Individuals who swim or play in lakes, rivers and streams should shower with soap and water when done.
  • Contact a health care provider immediately if you become ill or have symptoms after a suspected exposure to an algae bloom.

Stay healthy, stay safe! For public health updates, visit wwwcdhd.wa.gov and follow CDHD on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Phone: (509) 886-6400
Fax: (509) 886-6478
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