For the second time this year, Summit Lake has a toxic algae bloom.
This time, lab results from a sample collected on Nov. 30 show high levels of microcystin, according to a news release from Thurston County.
“Microcystin is a liver toxin which accumulates over time,” the news release stated. “High accumulation of this toxin can cause sickness, or even death.”
The EPA limit on microcystin for drinking water is 0.3 micrograms per liter for children, and 1.6 micrograms per liter for adults. Results from the sample site were 0.8 micrograms per liter, according to the news release.
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Hundreds of residents draw water from the nearly 500-acre lake in northwest Thurston County for use in their homes. Officials say filtration, boiling and other water treatment methods will not remove or deactivate the toxin.
County health officials are recommending that children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid drinking the water. They also shouldn’t use it to mix baby formula or other food and drink for children, or rinse food in it. Children shouldn’t use the water for teeth brushing either, officials say.
“Our primary concern is for public safety,” said Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Rachel Wood.
The health warning will remain in effect until samples are within safe levels for two weeks in a row.
A water station is open at Camp Thunderbird, 11740 Summit Lake Road NW. Residents can bring containers to fill at the water station from 4 to 7 p.m.
Last spring, the lake had an outbreak of Anatoxin-A, which is a neurotoxin, prompting Thurston County Board of Health to declare a state of emergency at the lake in May. The water was deemed safe at the end of June.