It might be safe for swimmers, boaters and pets to ply Lake Tapps this hot weekend after all.
A laboratory analysis of algae from Lake Tapps prompted the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department on Friday to dial back its warning about the danger of allowing people or pets into the popular lake.
A health department news release says the tested sample showed “no detectable concentrations of toxin.” As a result, the agency is now only cautioning people about the possible risk of swimming in the lake.
Thursday, the department urged people to avoid exposure to the lake’s waters for themselves or their pets, citing the possibility of toxic algae based on illnesses reported by 12 people who swam there last weekend. But test results received Friday, and the lack of new toxic algae blooms, caused the advisory to be lessened.
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Two more people reported illnesses after swimming in Lake Tapps Aug. 16 and 17, the agency said, but lab tests cannot confirm whether toxic algae caused their problems. The health department said people should still avoid areas where they see algae, particularly anything resembling a blue-green algae that looks like paint oozing through the water.
“The message we have for the public is simple: if you see algae in the water, people and their pets should stay out,” Brad Harp, the agency’s water program resources manager, said in the news release. “Although the illnesses people have reported are consistent with symptoms of toxic algae exposure, we do not believe the conditions that would further threaten public health are widely present.”
The agency may retest the lake next week. No toxic algae has previously been found in Lake Tapps.