News Flash

Water Quality

Posted on: September 20, 2019



September 20, 2019

For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Dawson

Water Quality Manager

Jefferson County Public Health

(360) 385-9444  x301


Port Townsend  High levels of the toxin microcystin were detected in a water sample taken from Lake Leland on Monday, September 16th. The toxin level is 17 micrograms per liter, which is above the Washington State recreational criteria of 6 micrograms. The bloom of bluegreen algae (also known as cyanobacteria) in the lake contains several toxin-producing species of algae. Microcystin is a liver toxin that can result in illness and death in people and animals. Signs of microcystin poisoning include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting in humans and death in animals. It may be hours or days before signs of liver poisoning appear. Warning signs have been posted at the public boat ramp and fishing pier stating the following guidance:

  • Do not swim.
  • Do not drink lake water.
  • Keep pets and livestock away.
  • Clean fish well and discard guts.
  • Avoid contact with algae scum.

The Washington State Department of Health advises that adults consume no more than two 8-ounce fish fillet meals per week from lakes with microcystin. Microcystin is known to accumulate in fish livers, and to a lesser extent in muscle tissue. Lake Leland had a similar bloom in October 2018.

To check the status of Jefferson County lakes and learn more about toxic cyanobacteria monitoring, consult the JCPH website at or call (360) 385-9444.


Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community