Utah Lake at Saratoga Springs on ‘warning’ level due to harmful algal bloom

Utah Lake. Photo Courtesy: Utah DEQ

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah, June 5, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The first algal bloom of the year with cyanotoxins exceeding recreational health has been confirmed in the Saratoga Springs area of Utah Lake.

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality tweeted Wednesday that an algal bloom has been confirmed at the Saratoga Springs picnic area of Utah Lake. The Utah County Health Department has placed warning signs to alert public.

“Both samples from the Saratoga Springs Picnic Area exceeded the recreation health-based threshold for a warning advisory for microcystin,” the tweet said. “An warning advisory indicates a moderate relative probability of acute health risk.”

The tweet 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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