When weekly tests discovered extremely high levels of toxic algae in Seattle's Green Lake, regular lake users saw their swimming and wading season come to an end.

Sally Abella and her King County water quality team saw an opportunity.

Abella and her crew from the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks knew the highest toxin counts (sometimes 70 times safe standards) were found in the algae scum that formed in certain areas. So on Tuesday they tried techniques to capture, test and detox the scum.

They used a hand-held wet dry vaccum to suck up the ribbons of scum floating near the shore. They used buckets to try to skim it up. Then they tried to filter out the toxins by pouring the scum through cloth pads used in oil spills.

They took the water samples from before and after the filter process to the lab to see how much of toxin they were able to remove. If it works, they will turn up the scale and use actual vaccum trucks or floating skimmers to capture the scum when toxic algae breaks out.

They also hope to learn more about what happens to cause Green Lakes famous algae to suddenly turn toxic.

They hope to have results soon. The lake will remain off limits to human or pet contact until the toxin levels drops.

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