Health department places warning on Utah Lake due to algal bloom

Local News

UTAH COUNTY (News4Utah) – The Utah County Health Department issued a warning Tuesday about Utah Lake.

The entire lake was placed at warning level due to a potentially harmful algal bloom.  

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

The Utah Department of Environmental Quailty said water sample results throughout the lake have cell concentrations significantly over the recommended warning threshold level.

“Water with these levels of concentration in the algal bloom pose health risks,” says Eric Edwards, Deputy Director of Utah County Health Department. “To protect the health of people and animals that use the lake, it is important for the public to be aware of the warning on the lake.”

The DEQ said although blue-green algae are a natural part of many freshwater ecosystems, under the right conditions they can grow rapidly. High levels of nutrients in the water, combined with warm temps, sunlight, and calm water, can promote growth, resulting in extensive blooms.

These blooms consist of cyanobacteria, a type of bacteria that poses risks to humans, wildlife, pets, and fish. Symptoms of exposure include headache, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and sometimes allergic-like reactions from skin contact.

Advisory actions:

  • 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

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

More information is available at habs.utah.gov.

If you would like updates on Utah Lake, such as when warnings or closures are issued or lifted, you are encouraged sign up at www.alerts.utahcounty.gov.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah VP Debate

More Utah Debate