The Times 

Toxic algae bloom discovered on Bennington Lake


September 30, 2021

WALLA WALLA—Walla Walla Department of Community Health (DCH) notified the Department of Ecology that cyanobacteria, otherwise known as blue-green algae, was discovered on Bennington Lake Walla Walla. Cyanobacteria can be harmful to people and fatal to animals. Due to toxicity levels, Walla Walla United States Army Corp of Engineers, in coordination with DCH, has closed the lake to the public.

The Corps of Engineers is working closely with the DCH to monitor the situation. DCH has collected water samples which are being tested at the King County Environmental Laboratory. Updates will be provided following receipt of test results.

In their toxic form, blue-green algae can kill pets, waterfowl, and other animals. They can also cause serious illnesses to humans. People or animals can be exposed to cyanotoxins by skin contact with water containing toxins while swimming or doing other activities in the water, drinking water containing toxins, breathing in tiny droplets in the air that contain toxins, or eating fish or shellfish that contain toxins. Exposure may result in stomach pain, headache, neurological symptoms (for example, muscle weakness, dizziness), vomiting, diarrhea, and liver damage.

The DCH cautions visitors to Bennington Lake to keep children and pets out of the water until further testing shows the toxins reduced to safe levels. Typically, the toxin remains in the water for about one week after the bloom disappears.

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