Health officials have issued a lake-wide warning advisory for Lake Utah after discovering harmful algal blooms, or HABs, with toxicity levels above the recreational safe threshold.
The warning notice, released Friday by the Utah County Department of Health, says samples taken from open lake water on July 13 show toxigenic cyanobacteria cell counts at 1.8 million cells per milliliter, well above the water quality division of Utah and the Department of Utah. Health recommended warning threshold of 100,000 cells per ml.
The lake-wide warning notice comes just days after health officials issued a warning notice for American Fork Beach and kept the notices in place in Lincoln Beach and Provo Bay due HABs exceeding the safe recreational threshold.
On July 7, a DWQ toxic algae monitoring team visited Lake Utah and observed algae blooms “at American Fork Beach, at American Fork Marina near the boat launch, at the boat launch and picnic area at Saratoga Springs Marina, Lindon Beach, south of Lindon Marina and the beach north of Lindon Marina, ”wrote the DWQ in a blog post.
Marinas will remain open to boat traffic to access Lake Utah, but water recreation in Provo Bay, Lincoln Beach and American Fork Marina “should be avoided,” according to the county health department.
HABS, which DEQ says develops “when cyanobacteria naturally present in water multiply very quickly to form green or blue-green water, scum or mats” and “can produce potent cyanotoxins that pose serious health risks to humans, pets and livestock. , ”Have been a problem in Lake Utah and other bodies of water for years.
Also on Friday, the Southeastern Department of Health issued a danger advisory for Scofield Reservoir, which “indicates potential for acute poisoning and long-term illness from harmful exposure to algae blooms. “, and advised visitors not to swim, water ski or boat in the reservoir.
On June 1, health officials downgraded a danger notice in North Fork Virgin River, southern Utah, to a warning notice “based on the results of the May 2021 sampling,” but nonetheless advised visitors to “avoid dipping their heads in the water”.
Symptoms of human exposure to HABs include rash, hives or blisters due to skin contact, runny nose, sore throat and asthma, while symptoms of exposure animals include weakness, wobbling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and convulsions.
To stay safe, health and water officials recommend avoiding swallowing water while swimming, washing hands with clean water before preparing or eating food, clean fish well and dispose of guts; keep animals away from water and recognize signs of algae blooms.
If you have concerns about possible human or animal exposure, call the Utah Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222, or report an outbreak by calling the Department of Quality’s 24-hour incident line. Utah Environment at (801) 536-4123.
Connor Richards covers government, the environment and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at [email protected] and 801-344-2599.