Lake Tapps update: toxic algae remains, but not releasing toxins into water

As part of its ongoing surface water monitoring efforts, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department staff checked seven locations around Lake Tapps on Thursday, Aug. 25.

As part of its ongoing surface water monitoring efforts, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department staff checked seven locations around Lake Tapps on Thursday, Aug. 25.

The department found a small area of algae located adjacent to the Inlet Island bridge roadway and collected an algae sample for further laboratory analysis of possible toxins.

Results are expected by Friday, Sept. 2 and the department will provide an update if there is any reason to change the Caution Advisory that has been in effect since Aug. 19.

Because of the presence of algae that is capable of producing toxins at Lake Tapps, the Caution Advisory reminds swimmers to avoid areas where they can see algae; if algae is present, you should avoid the area.

If you don’t see algae, it should be safe to swim, wade, boat or water ski in those areas. The department has not received any further reports of illness since those related to swimming exposure on Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Lake visitors and residents can expect to see our staff members on a regular basis as the department will continue to monitor the lake for toxic algae.

Algae Watch

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department tracks 25 lakes, three creeks, two ponds, and one stormwater holding basin for possible toxic algae or bacterial contamination.

Reports from Algae Watch partners, park districts, as well as past history of the lake helps the department prioritize when and where we send staff to monitor and sample for toxic algae and bacterial contamination.

If you would like to learn more or get involved in Algae Watch, please email

Get Surface Water Advisories

If you would like to receive alerts about environmental or human health concerns at area waterways, sign up


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