Health officials issue toxic algae cautions for 4 Pierce County lakes

by: Kevin McCarty Updated:

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PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. —

Swimmers are being warned to avoid four Pierce county lakes after potentially hazardous levels of toxic algae were discovered in the water.

Warning signs were posted at Spanaway Lake Ohop Lake near Eatonville as well as Twin Lakes and Whitman Lake in the Kapowsin area. 

The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department warning says swallowing lake water containing toxic algae or prolonged skin contact may result in illness such as muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. The department said if you swim in lakes with an algae warning stay away from areas with a scum like film on the water.

Some visitors at Spanaway Lake said they were unaware of the algae bloom. Scott Hixson brought his three kids to the lake and sat onshore as they played in the water. Hixson said he didn’t see signs warning or the potential for illness in the water.

“They have a booth here, you have to pay to get into this park, so you think somebody at the booth would say something,” Hixson said.

Hixson quickly got the kids out of the water and took them home to shower.

The algae bloom is on the surface of the lakes and looks like paint. 

The lakes will be checked until the advisory has been lifted. 

For more information on surface advisories, click here