Montgomery Parks has a message for visitors to Rockville’s Lake Needwood: Don’t drink the water. (And don’t let your dog drink it either.)
The message, posted on the parks department’s website, warns that an algae bloom has produced a toxic substance detected in the lake’s water.
The blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, produces microcystin, which “can cause severe liver damage if ingested,” the message says.
Swimming is prohibited at Lake Needwood. The boathouse closed for the season Sept. 18, but boating is still permitted through Dec. 15.
The message cautions visitors to avoid contact with the water and not to allow pets—which are required to be leashed—to swim in the water. The message encourages “good hand cleaning practices prior to eating, drinking or smoking” if fishing or boating in the lake.
“If eating fish caught from Lake Needwood, visitors should eat only muscle meat and ensure that the fish is cooked properly,” the message says.
The warning was posted on the Montgomery Parks website in late summer, The Gazette reported.
The toxic algae blooms appear in Lake Needwood nearly every summer, a Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission official told The Gazette.
Call 240-372-9696 for more information.