Big East Lake on ‘warning’ advisory due to harmful algal bloom

Payson Lakes' Big East Lake. Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

UTAH COUNTY, Utah, Sept. 4, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A harmful algal bloom “warning” advisory has been issued for Payson Lakes’ Big East Lake Wednesday.

“The Utah County Health Department has issued a ‘warning’ advisory for Big East Lake in the Payson Lakes complex after a 12-year-old girl fell ill after recreating in the lake on Sept. 1, and Sept. 2,” said a news release from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

“The girl’s mother reported scum on and near the shore, and the girl’s symptoms are consistent with dermal exposure and ingestion of cyanobacteria.”

The Division of Water Quality is coordinating monitoring efforts with UCHD to collect follow-up samples. DWQ will provide updates as sampling data become available, the news release said.

Visitors to this area of the lake should follow the following guidelines:

  • Do not swim or water ski
  • Do not ingest the water
  • Keep pets and livestock away
  • Clean fish well and discard guts
  • Avoid areas of scum when boating

“Harmful algal blooms occur when normally occurring cyanobacteria in the water multiply quickly to form visible colonies or blooms,” the Utah DEQ website says. “These blooms sometimes produce potent cyanotoxins that pose serious health risks to humans and animals.

“Although most algal blooms are not toxic, some types of cyanobacteria produce nerve or liver toxins. Toxicity is hard to predict in part because a single species of algae can have both toxic and non-toxic strains, and a bloom that tests nontoxic one day can be toxic the next.”

Symptoms of exposure include headache, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and sometimes allergic-like reactions from skin contact.

For concerns about possible human exposure, call the Utah Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222, or your physician.

For more information about algal blooms click here.


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