Residents advised to stay out of Big East Lake after algal bloom discovered

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Payson lakes - Recreation.gov

Payson lakes – Recreation.gov

PAYSON, Utah – People and pets are being warned to stay out of Big East Lake in Payson Canyon after the Utah County Health Department confirmed the presence of an algal bloom.

“There is a health risk,” Ralph Clegg said, Utah County Health Department Executive Director. “People should stay out of the water and keep their pets and livestock away from the water.”

Payson City has stopped drawing irrigation water from the lake and instead will draw from Strawberry Water, Spring Lake water and other sources.

Payson residents using irrigation systems should limit exposure to the spray and children should not play in sprinklers, according to health officials.

“Conditions are right for algal blooms,” Ben Holcomb said, coordinator of the Division of Water Quality Harmful Algal Bloom Program. “Hot temperatures, lots of sunlight, calm water and elevated levels of nutrients create the bloom. This is not the first algal bloom in the Big East Lake, as it was closed for a month in 2015.”

Symptoms of poisoning include headache, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea and vomiting. An allergic-like skin reaction is also possible.

Residents with concerns can contact the city at (801) 465-5200.

The Utah Poison Control Center fielded hundreds of calls after harmful algae was found at Utah Lake.

Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed should call the UPCC at 1-800-222-1222.

Updates from the DEQ will be posted here.