Evan Thompson / The Record — Green scum was seen on the surface of Lone Lake this past week. A toxic algae bloom led Island County to close the lake on July 19.

New Lone Lake test shows neurotoxin level increase

Results from another analysis of Lone Lake show that neurotoxin levels have increased by over three times the previous amount.

Preliminary algae toxin data from King County’s environmental lab found 160.59 micrograms per liter of Anatoxin-a in a recent sample collected by Clyde Jenkins of the South Whidbey Yacht Club. Results from a previous sample collected by Jenkins found 49.030 micrograms per liter of Anatoxin-a and led Island County to temporary close Lone Lake this past week.

The exact cause of the increase in Anatoxin-a is still unclear according to Island County and Whidbey Island Conservation District officials. Possible causes include warm temperatures, goose poop, leaky septic systems and the topography of the lake.

Jill Wood, Island County Public Health’s environmental health director, said the county lacks the funding to support a program that would examine the problems surrounding Lone Lake. Instead, the county is relying heavily on the community, and particularly the yacht club, to collect samples and send them to King County where they are analyzed for free.

The toxic algae bloom can be seen with the naked eye as a layer of green scum on the surface of the water. Ingesting dangerous amounts of Anatoxin-a can disrupt the link between nerves and muscles and can lead to loss of coordination, muscular fasciculations, convulsions and death by respiratory paralysis.

Island County posted a notice at the lake on July 19 advising people to stay out of the lake and call a doctor or veterinarian if people or animals experienced signs of poisoning or a sudden or unexplained sickness.