Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Toxic blue-green algae advisory in effect for Clear Lake

This advisory has been lifted as of 12/09/2014

Swimmers, pet owners, and anglers are advised to avoid contact with Clear Lake due to a toxic blue-green algae bloom. If fishing, the safest practice is catch and release.

A water sample taken from Clear Lake on September 19, 2014 found the algae toxin Microcystin at 10.4 micrograms per liter of water, which is above the state standard of 6 micrograms per liter for recreational water use. Microcystin can cause liver poisoning in people and animals. Symptoms can take hours or days to appear. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting in humans and death in animals. 

While not all algae blooms are toxic, some algae can produce toxins that can harm the nervous system, the liver, the skin, and the stomach and intestines. 

Experts from the county’s Environmental Health Division recommend a few simple tips to help prevent illness from algae: 

  • Avoid swimming, wading, wind surfing and water-skiing in waters where algae blooms are present. 
  • Don’t drink untreated surface water.
  • Keep pets and livestock out of waters with algae blooms.
  • When fishing, catch-and-release is the safest practice. If you do eat your catch, clean any fish you catch thoroughly if you see algae blooms. Before eating, remove the internal organs, which may contain harmful algae toxins.
  • Avoid areas of scum when boating and clean your boat thoroughly.

For more information about toxic algae blooms and other water quality information, visit the Thurston County Environmental Health web page, Swimming in Thurston County.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Scatter Creek Community Workshop on September 30

You are invited to a community workshop about the preliminary conclusions and recommendations to protect drinking water in the Scatter Creek Aquifer, hosted by the Scatter Creek Aquifer Project Citizens Advisory Committee and Thurston County Environmental Health.

When:           Tuesday September 30, 2014 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Where:         Rochester Middle School Commons  (children’s area provided)
9937 Highway 12 SW
Rochester, WA 98579

This Scatter Creek Aquifer is susceptible to contamination because soils in the area do not filter out contaminants well. Unlike many other areas, there is not another deeper aquifer below the Scatter Creek Aquifer; it is the only source of drinking water for area residents. The Scatter Creek Aquifer Citizens Advisory Committee met for almost two years to learn about the aquifer, help direct computer groundwater modeling scenarios, and develop recommendations for the Thurston County Board of Health.

The preliminary conclusions and recommendations made by the citizen’s committee will be presented at this community workshop and can be reviewed here. Come provide input on the preliminary recommendations to protect drinking water in the Scatter Creek Aquifer. Your input will help shape the final recommendations that the citizen’s committee will present to the Board of Health.
This event is an opportunity for the community to learn more about the project, hear the preliminary conclusions and recommendations, and to provide input.  

For more information visit the project website or contact ScatterCreek@co.thurston.wa.us or (360) 867-2582.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Become a volunteer with the Healthy Homes Program

This fall, the Healthy Homes Program is training new volunteers! 

Healthy Homes provides free, voluntary, and confidential home visits to help local residents find ways to reduce exposure to toxins, asthma triggers, mold, and other housing-related health risks. The visits are conducted by trained volunteers (this could be you!) who work with the resident to decide on simple solutions to make their home a healthier space.

Volunteers participate in 30 hours of training to learn about how home environments can contribute to health issues and how to reduce housing-related health risks. The training  prepares volunteers to conduct Health Homes Visits. The training is hands-on and engaging with relevant presentations and field trips. They can apply what they learn in their own living spaces.
Once volunteers are trained, they are asked to give back 30 hours of community service to the program. This includes conducting Healthy Homes Visits, staffing booths at community events, assisting with community outreach, and work on special projects. Thurston County Public Health & Social Services staff members are committed to supporting each person to help them become a successful volunteer.

2014 Training Schedule
Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- October 10
- October 17
- October 24
- October 31
- November Break - during which, each volunteer-in-training goes out on their first visit with an experienced volunteer.
- December 12

To apply for the 2014 training or to learn more about the program visit the Healthy Homes Program website or contact (360) 867-2674,  HealthyHomes@co.thurston.wa.us.