Don't go in the water

Don’t include Kitsap Lake in any weekend plans. The Kitsap County Health District is advising Kitsapers to stay clear of the lake’s waters because of a potentially toxic blue-green algae bloom.

Stuart Whitford, Kitsap County water quality program manager, said two species of blue-green algae, gleotrichia and anabaena, have been found on the lake. The county has taken some water samples and sent them to a laboratory in Tacoma to determine if the blue-green algae is toxic. The results of the test should be back on Monday.

“It’s a pretty typical thing,” Whitford said. Because it rained so much in early September, followed by warmer temperatures, it created conditions that are prime for algae blooms.

The algae can produce toxins, and if those toxins are ingested, they could make people sick and kill fish, waterfowl, pets and livestock, according to Whitford.

The blue-green algae bloom has happened for the last two years and occurs in the fall months, Whitford said.

Another contributing factor for the algae blooms is that the amount of nutrients in Kitsap Lake is on the rise. Both nutrients and sunlight are prime components for an algae bloom.

In a recent check of the lake, the county discovered six failing septic systems. Those systems were fixed which should help decrease nutrients in Kitsap Lake, Whitford said.

Warning signs have been posted at the community access areas and at road intersections near the lake.

During the advisory, lake area residents and visitors are advised to:

• Avoid drinking the water. Instead of drinking lake water, visitors should drink bottled water.

• Avoid getting into the water, especially where the algae is concentrated.

• Avoid letting pets or livestock drink or swim in the water.

• Clean any fish caught in the lake as soon as possible and discard all the fish’s organs.

• Rinse boats and trailers that have been in Kitsap Lake before taking them to another lake.

If residents notice a large number of dead fish in a lake, if a pet that has been exposed to the lake gets sick or dies, or if someone who has been in the lake starts to feel dizzy, weak, has abdominal pain or gets a rash they should Kitsap County Health District (360) 337-5245.

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