South Sound News

Popular swimming beach closed due to toxic algae concerns

LACEY, Wash. — A popular Thurston County swimming beach is closed because there may be toxic algae in the water.

“I really wanted to swim and everybody’s coming and people are going to say, ‘Ah man, we can’t swim,’” said Noah.

The City of Lacey said a combination of an algae scum on the surface and poor water visibility means there may be a toxic blue-green algae bloom in Long Lake. City workers closed Long Lake Park’s beach and swimming area Thursday.

“It’s just kind of gross. It’s not really great to look at and you can’t really see it from up on the hill, but once you get down it’s just like oh, what is that? It’s not really great,” said lifeguard Dana Lawson-Rivera.

Caution signs are up around the beach and lifeguards are keeping swimmers out of the water.

“We just explain, well, if you do get in you could have some sort of rash,” said Lawson-Rivera.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, a combination of warm temperatures, sunlight and nutrient-rich waters can cause blue-green algae to reproduce rapidly, known as “blooming.”

Blue-green algae blooms usually float to the surface and can be several inches thick near the shoreline. Some blue-green algae blooms can produce toxins or poisons, potentially causing illness in humans, pets and other animals that come in contact with it.

Many families who came to Long Lake for the holiday didn’t know it was closed.

"[I’m] kind of sad because we were hoping to swim and have a fun day, but we'll just have to find somewhere else to go,” said Laura Henry.

The health department said people who go in the water should wash off right away.

Long Lake will be closed through at least Sept. 12.

To learn more about blue-green algae and to follow updates on the test results in Thurston County, visit this link.

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