For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Dawson
Jefferson County Water Quality
(360) 385-9444 x301
Samples taken Monday, May 13, found a very high level of algae toxin in Anderson Lake. Anatoxin-a was 4,933 micrograms per liter, more than 4,000 times the recreational safe limit of 1 microgram per liter. Bluegreen algae (also known as cyanobacteria) that grow in the lake produce anatoxin and other similar toxins. This is the second highest toxin level measured at Anderson Lake since 2008 when testing began, and one of the highest toxin levels measured worldwide. Toxins at levels like these can be lethal to humans and animals.
The anatoxin-a level at Anderson Lake has increased each week since regular monitoring began this season. The week of Monday, May 6, the toxin level had reached 9.35 micrograms per liter and a lake closure recommendation was made on Thursday, May 9 when test results were received. That same day, Washington State Parks closed Anderson Lake to all use including fishing, boating and swimming.
Sadly, a dog died Sunday, May 12 after entering Anderson Lake. Media reports indicate the dog suffered from symptoms that appear consistent with anatoxin-a poisoning. Anatoxin-a is a potent nerve toxin that can kill by shutting down a person’s or animal’s nervous system within minutes of being ingested. There is no known antidote to the toxin, so the best thing to do is avoid contact with the water.
To check the status of Jefferson County Lakes and learn more about toxic cyanobacteria monitoring, consult the JCPH website at www.jeffersoncountypublichealth.org/723/Lake-Status or call (360) 385-9444. Information about bluegreen algae is available at www.doh.wa.gov/algae. Test results from other Washington lakes can be found at www.nwtoxicalgae.org.
Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community