Montgomery Parks Warns Residents About Hazardous Toxins in Lakes

The Montgomery County Parks Department is asking residents to use caution near Lake Needwood and Lake Frank after a testing has shown there are elevated levels of a toxic substance produced by algae in the lakes.

The lakes, located within Rock Creek Regional Park, tested positive for Microcystin, a hepatoxin, that can cause harm to the liver of humans and pets if ingested, according to a news release.

Dogs that are off a leash are a particular concern since they swim and drink from lake.

Recreational activités including boating and fishing will remain open at the lake.

Montgomery Parks urges visitors to take the following precautions:

  • Park visitors are encouraged to avoid direct contact with water while boating or fishing
  • Notice that swimming is prohibited in the lake at all times
  • Keep dogs on leash (as is regularly required at the park), and do not allow them to drink or be in contact with the water
  • Wash hands thoroughly prior to eating, drinking, or smoking if someone comes in contact with the water
  • Only eat properly cooked muscle meat of fish that are caught in the lake

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One Response to “Montgomery Parks Warns Residents About Hazardous Toxins in Lakes”

  1. Avatar
    On July 29, 2017 at 2:02 pm responded with... #

    The first notice I saw of this appeared in the Washington Post in the summer of 2010. Since then, the signs have been up at Lake Needwood pretty much continuously. So I assume this is not a new problem but just a new warning about what has been occurring for 7 years. Or is it just that the Parks system never removes the signs or notifies anyone when the water is safe again (e.g., there’s always some suggestion in these articles that it’s a seasonal thing–well when does the season end, and how will citizens know when the Lake water is safe again each year?)?

    Second question–does the lake problem mean that Rock Creek below the dam is also unsafe? How about all the little rivulets around Needwood Park? Or is this more specifically a lake problem that doesn’t affect the creeks and streams?

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