Toxic algae detected in two Maryland lakes

Officials warn that Lake Frank is contaminated by blue-green algae. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

UPDATE – Monday – 8/26/2013, 2:20pm

WASHINGTON – Officials say toxins from blue-green algae have contaminated Lake Frank just east of Rockville and Montgomery Parks are urging visitors to use caution.

In July, Lake Needwood, the 75-acre lake located within Rock Creek Regional Park in Rockville, was also found to be contaminated.

Montgomery Parks asks park users to keep their pets out of both lakes and to wash their hands if they come into contact with the water because of elevated levels of microcystin, a toxic substance produced by the blue-green algae.

The algae can harm the liver in both humans and pets if ingested, the parks system says.

Park officials ask visitors to:

  • Keep dogs on a leash and keep them out of the water. Dogs should not drink the lake water or go into the lake.
  • All swimming is prohibited.
  • Wash hands thoroughly.
  • Eat only cooked muscle meat of fish caught in the lake.

Boating and fishing are allowed despite the warning. Bright yellow signs have been posted warning vistors of the risk.

The lakes could remain contaminated for the remainder of the summer and signs will remain posted until the warning is lifted, according to the county parks.

The best advice may be to simply enjoy the water from a distance.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

Follow @KateRyanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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