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Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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No-contact advisory issued for Moses Lake water after sewage spill, blue-green algae advisory

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 29, 2019, 9:29 p.m.

 (Emma Epperly / The Spokesman-Review)
(Emma Epperly / The Spokesman-Review)

A sewage spill reported Wednesday in Moses Lake led the Grant County Health District to issue a seven-day no-contact advisory for a portion of the lake.

The advisory does not affect drinking water, and sewer services were not affected. The advisory is in effect through Thursday, Sept. 5.

But even before the leak was detected, the entirety of Moses Lake was under a blue-green algae toxin advisory that means the water is not safe for humans or animals. The advisory was issued Aug. 20 and remained in place as of Thursday.

The toxin levels are “extremely elevated,” said Theresa Adkinson, administrator of the health district.

No illnesses have been reported related to either the sewage contamination or the blue-green algae, said Lynne Lynch, communication manager for Moses Lake.

Wednesday’s sewage spill occurred in the Knolls Vista neighborhood. The public should not swim, fish, boat or have any other kind of contact with the lake water in the impacted area. The health district also advised against irrigation with lake water.

A resident on the 300 block of West Northshore Drive reported sewage was spilling into the lake at about 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The advisory hasn’t stopped people from boating on the lake, said Calvin Smith who works at Sunrise Resorts.

“I’ve seen a few people out boating, but I don’t know why you’d want to do that if it’s unhealthy,” Smith said.

With Labor Day Weekend starting tomorrow, Smith said visitors will have to find other ways to recreate.

“It’s always going to affect the recreational value of people coming to be on the lake,” Smith said. “We still have the swimming pool, and the town has the water slides.”

The Moses Lake Fire Department and the city’s Waste Water Division responded and the leak was stopped at around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

City employees believe the cause of the spill was a baseball-sized hole in a pipe that was likely due to its age, according to a health district statement.

“The lake is not closed,” Adkinson said. “It’s not our recommendation to go swimming in the water.”

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