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Ecology: People, pets should stay out of part of Lake Padden for now

Tony Murray was traveling the country from New Jersey when he stopped to fish at Lake Padden in Bellingham. on Oct. 8, 2014. Ecology officials say a bacterial bloom reported Thursday has made the lake unsafe for humans and pets until further notice.
Tony Murray was traveling the country from New Jersey when he stopped to fish at Lake Padden in Bellingham. on Oct. 8, 2014. Ecology officials say a bacterial bloom reported Thursday has made the lake unsafe for humans and pets until further notice. The Bellingham Herald

Stay out of the northwest side of Lake Padden near the Padden Gorge Trail for the time being.

That’s the location of what looks like blue-green algae bloom, which could be unsafe.

Such blooms often resemble green paint or dye floating on water, but they can be bright green, blue, brown or reddish green. The algae is made up of extremely small organisms that are difficult to pick up or hold.

The bloom at Padden is bright green.

Most blue-green algae blooms are not toxic. But depending on conditions, the algae can release toxins into the water that, in high enough concentrations, can sicken humans and kill animals who drink the contaminated water.

People who swim in the water could develop a skin rash.

Krista Kenner, spokeswoman for the Washington state Department of Ecology, said Thursday she was waiting to hear whether the county Health Department has sampled the water.

The only way to know whether the algae, also known as cyanobacteria, is toxic is through testing.

“We don’t know if it’s toxic yet,” Kenner said. “People should keep themselves and their pets out of the water until we know more.”

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

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