Current Surface Water Advisories
The Surface Water Advisory Page was last updated on January 9, 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.
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.
- Waughop Lake, Sewage Spill Advisory, issued January 9, 2017
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.
- Ohop Lake, Toxic Algae Caution Advisory, issued November 10, 2016
- Waughop Lake, Toxic Algae Caution Advisory and Do Not Eat the Fish Advisory, issued December 23, 2015
Lakes with advisories are generally checked weekly until the advisory is lifted.
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.
- No advisories at this time
The State Department of Health maintains a webpage of regional shellfish beach advisories.
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.
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
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