Current Surface Water Advisories

The Surface Water Advisory page was last updated November 16, 2017.

When it comes to water, we work to identify and stop contamination, prevent waterborne illness and improve water quality. Protecting the water around us is essential to community health and quality of life.

If you would like to know when our local lakes and beaches are closed or when access is limited because of public health risks, sign up to receive emails and select Surface Water Advisories.

Toxic Algae Advisory

When you see a toxic algae advisory, it means the water has cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, which can produce toxins. Add sunlight and warmer temperatures, and toxic algae can reproduce rapidly in fresh water—creating toxic algae “blooms.” Water with toxic algae can kill pets, waterfowl and other animals and cause serious illness or even death in people.

Lakes with advisories are generally checked weekly until the advisory is lifted.

Shellfish Advisory

Why do we close recreational shellfish harvesting at local beaches? Causes can include high concentrations of shellfish biotoxins such as Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP), or because of reported illnesses from Vibrio, a bacterial foodborne infection usually associated with eating undercooked seafood. Sometimes, we close beaches because of bacteria from failing septic systems, poor animal keeping practices or storm-water runoff that results in poor water quality.

Advisory Update

Oct. 23, 2017

The Washington Department of Health has lifted the recreational shellfish biotoxin closure in many areas of Pierce County.

The closure remains in effect for Colvos Passage, from the inlet of Gig Harbor north to the county line. This closure applies to recreational butter and varnish clam harvesting within these areas. Shellfish from stores and restaurants is still safe to eat.

According to Washington Department of Health, the following areas are again safe for recreational harvest of all species:

  • Hale Passage, including Wollochet Bay.

  • Eastern shoreline of the Key Peninsula, from just south of Minter Bay to South Head (Delano Point).

  • South Narrows from Gordon Point and Yoman Point on Anderson Island, north to Point Defiance.

The State Department of Health maintains a webpage of regional shellfish beach advisories. DOH Advisories Map

Sewage Spill

When you see a Sewage Spill Advisory it means for people to keep out of the water. Bacteria and viruses in sewage can cause gastrointestinal and other illnesses.

  • No advisories at this time

Swimming Beach Advisory

We post advisories at swimming beaches for everything from high bacteria levels to contamination from a sewage leak or toxic algae. Any of these can sicken people, pets and wildlife.

Do Not Eat the Fish Advisory (Click here for more info)

  • Because of pollution, people should not eat shellfish, including crab and bottom fish from the waterways of Commencement Bay.
Marine Beach Advisory Explanations

Creeks and Streams Advisories

All rivers, streams, lakes and ponds naturally contain bacteria, viruses, parasites and algae. Most of these small organisms are beneficial and do not harm people, but some can cause illness. When bacteria counts are high, people who wade or play in a creek have an increased risk of getting sick. To prevent that, we post advisories when a creek has high bacteria counts.

  • Meeker Creek