How to report and test a bloom

Image for toxic algae bloom in Hicks lake
Toxic algae caution sign at Lake Hicks

Sampling a bloom event

This program is managed by the Washington State Department of Ecology. The King County Environmental Laboratory provides analytical testing and sample kit shipping under contract. The decision to accept or decline a sample request is made by the Washington State Department of Ecology, local health department and county lake experts. To report a bloom and start the sampling process please reach out to your local county representatives If a county representative is not available, please email a photo of the suspected cyanobacteria bloom to Lizbeth Seebacher at before generating a sample number.

Hard copy directions for sample collection procedures and the algae data sheet will be sent along with the sample collection kit

To start the sampling process please use the automated sample number generator and follow the instructions.

Image for toxic algae bloom in Ketchum lake
Marisa Burghdoff – Lake Ketchum

Once a sample is at the laboratory, specialists will identify the algae species. If the sample contains an algae known to produce toxins, the laboratory will run a toxin analysis on the sample and you may be asked to send in more samples. Be aware that Ecology cannot reimburse postage or delivery costs but does pay for laboratory analyses.

Resampling a bloom event

If you are submitting a follow-up sample for a lake that has already been tested in previous week(s), please follow the directions above. Please sample only one week after the toxin levels return below recreational levels. Samples will be approved by Ecology before testing.

Please work through Ecology. The laboratory will not accept outside samples through the Ecology program unless they have been approved by Ecology.

For more information please contact:


To request sample bottle kit

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