Monday, June 19, 2017

AmeriCorps Position Open - Healthy Homes Project Lead

Help people make their home into a healthier space!


We are seeking a committed, passionate person to help lead our Healthy Homes Program! Thurston County Healthy Homes Program helps people reduce their exposure to toxics, asthma triggers, mold, and other housing-related health risks. Local residents invite trained volunteers into their homes to provide these optional Healthy Homes Visits.

The AmeriCorps member will serve in the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department. Eligible applicants must be between the ages of 18-25. Position begins September 1 and comes with a living stipend of $1,195 a month, a bus pass, student loan forbearance or deferment, eligibility for basic health insurance, and an AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,775 upon successful completion of the program.  To learn more about AmeriCorps visit the Washington Service Corps website.

The Healthy Homes Project Lead will:
- Organize and complete the Healthy Homes volunteer training.
- Conduct Healthy Homes Visits for local residents and childcare facilities.
- Provide follow-up contacts, and other program services.
- Manage program volunteers including recruitment, scheduling and tracking hours.
- Create partnerships with local healthcare providers.
- Develop volunteer support and recognition events.
- Develop creative and innovative program outreach activities to engage the community.
- Collect, track, and analyze program data to evaluate program effectiveness and impact.
- Prepare quarterly reports.
- Occasionally assist department education staff with other outreach and evaluation activities.

Traits of the ideal candidate:
- Will be enthusiastic and embrace challenges, be professional and friendly, demonstrate commitment to workplace collaboration, and have the ability to establish and maintain professional demeanor in stressful situations. 
- Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing with tact, diplomacy and clarity to multiple audiences.
- Ability to maintain confidentiality, and adherence to legal and ethical requirements.
- Ability to organize, prioritize and coordinate work, research and prepare reports.
- Must be able to comply with a smoke-free and drug-free work environment, and pass child safety screening.
- Two years of college level course work. Solid computer skills and knowledge of Microsoft Office.
- Must possess a current and valid Washington driver's license within two months.
- Must be between the ages 18-25.


Apply through the AmeriCorps website. This opportunity closes on July 17 at 8:00 am Pacific Time, and is contingent on funding. For more information please contact Elisa Sparkman, Healthy Homes Program Coordinator at (360) 867-2579, sparkme@co.thurston.wa.us.

Monday, May 15, 2017

New website - Updated information about the Summit Lake toxic algae advisory

There is a new website with updated information about the toxic algae advisory at Summit Lake. The website address is http://bit.ly/SummitLakeAlgae.


What you will find on the website:
  • Guidance for avoiding risks posed by algae toxin in Summit Lake.
  • Water truck information for residents on Summit Lake.
  • Algae toxin lab test information.
  • Maps of testing sample locations.
  • Information about labs accredited for algae toxin testing.
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Public Health contact information.
  • Links to information about blue-green algae. 



The website and the public information line (360) 709-3080 have the most updated information about the Summit Lake water emergency.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Summit Lake Toxic Algae Bloom Update – Thursday May 11

Water truck available daily between 4-7 p.m.
The water truck (Water Buffalo, Inc.) will park at the Fire Station at 2815 Summit Lake Shore Rd NW between 4-7 p.m. Residents can bring their own containers to collect water for drinking and cooking during those times. This water truck will be available daily between 4-7 p.m. until further notice.

Community meeting on Saturday. *** Updated: Location Change***
Come to the community meeting on Saturday May 13 from 2-4 p.m. at the new location - the Boy Scout Camp 11740 Summit Lake Road NW. Staff from Thurston County Public Health will be there to answer questions.

Public Information Line: (360) 709-3080
The Public Information Line is being updated regularly.

Thurston County Public Health advises no contact with the water.
Summit Lake is under advisory for a toxic algae bloom. The algae bloom is producing high levels of the toxin Anatoxin-a, which is toxic to the nervous system. The Thurston County Board of Health has declared this as a community emergency.
  •  Do not drink the water, do not shower or bathe in the water, do not use the water for cooking, washing dishes, laundry or to water pets or animals. 
  • Avoid all contact with the lake water.
  •  Keep pets and children out of the water.
  •  Don’t fish or swim in the water.

Public Health took 11 additional samples from around the lake on Tuesday May 9 and should have tests results back by Friday May 12. We will continue to update residents as we know more. 


If you have additional questions or concerns, contact Thurston County Environmental Health at (360) 867-2626.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Summit Lake residents are advised not to use their tap water.

Summit Lake is under advisory for a toxic algae bloom. Residents living on Summit Lake who get their tap water from the lake should not use their tap water for drinking, cooking, or bathing. Disinfection, boiling, and treatment systems don’t remove or deactivate the algae toxin.

Current levels are at 354 micrograms per liter. One microgram per liter is considered a reason for health concern. The bloom is producing high levels of the toxin Anatoxin-a, which is toxic to the nervous system.

Public Health also advises the following other precautions:
  - Residents should find a temporary alternative source of safe drinking    water.
  - Don't shower in water taken from the lake until laboratory tests show    the water is safe.
  - Avoid contact with lake water.
  - Keep pets and children out of the water.
  - Don't fish or swim in the water.

Public Health will continue to monitor the situation and will take more lake samples in the next week. We will continue to update residents. Please share this information to help get the word out. You can find more information about toxic algae here.

Residents and lake users with questions can contact Jane Mountjoy-Venning at 360-867-2643 or venninj@co.thurston.wa.us

Monday, January 2, 2017

Healthy Holidays: A New Year, New Healthy Home

Here are ten simple ways to make your home a healthier and happier place to live in 2017, and beyond!
1.      It is never too early to do some spring cleaning. Make three piles: Keep, donate, and recycle/toss. Set aside a weekend to get rid of items you and your family no longer use. Reducing clutter can reduce stress and create a safer home. Clutter can be a tripping hazard.  
2.      Did you discover some household hazardous waste while doing your spring cleaning? Take your unwanted cleaning supplies, motor oil, light bulbs and more to HazoHouse! Replace these items with green cleaners.
3.      Reduce the risk of mold and moisture damage by running your bathroom fan when you take a shower. Leave the fan on for at least thirty to forty-five minutes after you shower. If your fan is broken, have it fixed or replaced.
4.      Open windows daily to let fresh air in and improve ventilation. Try a “fresh air blast” by going through your home opening each window and then going right back through closing each one. This quick exchange of air can make a big difference in your indoor air quality!
5.      You never know when a fire, stormy weather, or earthquake could impact you and your family. Create a disaster supplies kit for you, your family, and your pets. Keep the kit in an accessible location that everyone living at your home could find during an emergency.
6.      Take your shoes off at the door. Shoes can bring in dirt, dust and other allergens. Don’t want cold feet? Have a designated pair of house slippers or shoes you can wear around the house.
7.      Vacuum at least once a week and damp dust hard surfaces regularly. This can reduce allergy triggers in the home.
8.      Get your septic tank inspected. Get your septic system inspected. You can hire someone or learn how to do it yourself. Inspecting your system every year can help identify issues before they turn into large, costly problems.
9.      Read our Common Sense Gardening guides so you can begin to plan your garden.  Our free gardening guides can help you create a beautiful landscape without the
use of toxic bug and weed killers.

10.  Want to learn more about ways you can keep your home healthy? Schedule a free, confidential Healthy Homes visit. Call the Healthy Homes Program to learn more or schedule a visit (360) 867-2674.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Healthy Holidays: Where do I take my?

Out with the old and in with the new?

If you have some things you need to get rid of, perhaps due to some newly acquired items over the holidays… there is a wonderful resource to help you. It is called www.WhereDoITakeMy.org.

Where do I take my” lists out just about any item you can think of and provides information on where you can dispose of it safely. It also recommends places where you can donate and recycle things. And it provides information on where to dispose of a hazardous item safely.


Disposing of unwanted items responsibly is good for the environment and can help others who are in need. The choices you make when tossing out your old stuff can have a big impact! Your choice makes a difference.


If you’re not able to find information on disposal for something, you can always call our Environmental Health Education Phone Line. Our staff will do their best to find an option that works for you! (360) 867-2674.