Algal bloom is back on Utah Lake, new testing shows 04

A warning sign for harmful algae is pictured near the Swede Sportsman Access on Provo Bay on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.

Utah Lake’s annual algal bloom has made its first appearance of 2019, according to information from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Routine monitoring by the Division of Water Quality on May 30 showed toxin levels from the algae bloom exceeded recreation health-based thresholds. A surface sample near the Saratoga Springs Picnic Area was 375 times greater than the advisory level, according to http://deq.utah.gov.

Both the Lindon Marina and the Saratoga Springs area appeared to have the green hue associated with the algal blooms. No other sites contained any visible signs of algal blooms, the site said.

The Lindon Marina samples came back with toxin levels below that which requires a warning.

Monitoring crews gathered more samples Wednesday, which will be sent in for toxin testing.

The Utah County Health Department has issued a Warning Advisory for the Saratoga Springs Picnic Area, and warning signs have been posted. A warning advisory indicates a moderate probability of acute health risk, the website says. During warning advisories, people are encouraged not to swim or water ski in the area, ingest the water or let pets or livestock in the water.

The remainder of the lake is not currently under an advisory.

The lake used to see an algal bloom nearly every fall, but blooms have been appearing in the summer over the past several years, causing closures of sections of the lake.

Low water levels, combined with hot temperatures, calm conditions and an abundance of nutrition in the water urge on algal blooms.

Utah Lake isn’t the only body of water in Utah grappling with the emergence of blooms, though it is the first body of water in Utah to have a warning advisory this year. Updates on algal blooms in Utah waterways can be found at deq.utah.gov.

If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to toxins, call the Utah Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.

Katie England covers local government, the environment and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2599 or kengland@heraldextra.com.

Katie England covers politics, county government and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2599 or kengland@heraldextra.com.

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