Utah health officials have issued a harmful algal bloom warning advisory for Provo Bay in Utah Lake and are encouraging residents to keep themselves and their pets safe in the water.
The warning advisory, issued on Friday by the Utah Division of Environmental Quality, states that a monitoring team visited Utah Lake on June 7 and observed HABs at the Provo Bay entrance.
No algal blooms were observed at other parts of Utah Lake, including Lindon Beach, Lindon Marina Beach, South Point at North Dike, South Point Marina, Lincoln Beach Marina, north of Lincoln Beach Marina, Saratoga Springs Marina Boat Ramp, American Fork Beach or American Fork Marina.
According to the DWQ, toxigenic cyanobacteria cell density results for Provo Bay show cell counts at 266,863 cells/mL of Dolichospermum, which is “a known toxin producer.”
Health officials noted that the cell densities observed at Provo Bay “are above the UDWQ/UDOH recommended Warning Advisory threshold of 100,000 cells/mL.”
The Utah County Health Department stated on Friday that Utah Lake State Park Marina remains open for boat traffic “but water recreation within Provo Bay should be avoided.”
HABs develop “when naturally occurring cyanobacteria in the water multiply very quickly to form green or blue-green water, scum, or mats,” according to the DWQ, which notes that HABs “can produce potent cyanotoxins that pose serious health risks to humans, pets, and livestock.”
Symptoms of human exposure to HABs include rashes, hives or blisters from skin contact, and a runny nose, sore throat, asthma or “allergic-like reactions from breathing in droplets from contaminated water. Swallowing contaminated water can result in vomiting and diarrhea, stomach pain, weakness, tingling, dizziness or trouble breathing.
Symptoms of animal exposure include weakness, staggering, difficulty breathing, vomiting and convulsions.
To stay safe, health officials recommend avoiding swallowing water when swimming, washing hands with clean water before preparing or eating food, cleaning fish well and discarding of guts, keeping animals away and recognizing the signs of an algal bloom.
Last summer, health officials issued multiple warning and danger advisories for various areas of Utah Lake — including the Utah Lake State Park Marina, which is about 1 mile north of Provo Bay — after finding toxic algae concentrations above the threshold for safe recreation.
The DWQ and Utah Department of Health began monitoring for HABs and waterborne pathogens this year on June 1 and will continue to visit and monitor waterbodies throughout the summer.
For concerns about possible human exposure, call the Utah Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222. To report a bloom, call the 24-hour Utah Department of Environmental Quality incident line at (801) 536-4123.