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

If you have not participated in this program before and think that your lake is experiencing an algae bloom, please refer to the automated sample number generator below. The Dept of Ecology will approve testing of the sample after submittal. If the sample is not approved, we will contact you to let you know.

Directions can be found here about how to collect the sample and how to send or deliver it to the laboratory. It is very important for you to carefully follow the directions.

When collecting the sample, be sure to fill out the data sheet and send it along with your sample to the King County Environmental Lab.

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

Links to external sites do not constitute endorsements by King County. By visiting this and other King County web pages, you expressly agree to be bound by terms and conditions of the site. For questions on the Freshwater Algae Program please contact . For questions on the content or functionality of the site please contact . For information or concerns about a current Algal Bloom please contact your local Health Department.

© 2012 King County