Algal bloom in Utah Lake ‘growing very slowly’; Provo Bay advisory remains in place

FILE: An algal bloom in Utah Lake during the summer of 2016.

UTAH LAKE — Environmental experts said Friday the algal bloom in Utah Lake is growing very slowly and does not appear to have spread beyond Provo Bay, where an advisory remains in place.

According to an update from the Department of Environmental Quality posted Friday, the harmful algal bloom is growing “very slowly” and does not appear to have spread to other areas of the lake.

Health department personnel have tested Sandy and Lincoln Beaches as well as the Lindon and American Fork Harbors along with Saratoga Springs. All of those areas tested negative for toxins. However, the advisory regarding Provo Bay remains in place.

“Enjoy Utah Lake this weekend, but remember to stay clear of visible scum and mats on the water,” the DEQ stated.

Officials first warned the public about the algal bloom on June 29, and the bloom comes around the same time of the year as a bloom in 2016 that shut down the lake for an extended period of time.

While blue-green algae are a natural part of many freshwater ecosystems, certain conditions can lead to rapid growth and result in large blooms. Those large blooms can create harmful levels of cyanobacteria.

High levels of nutrients combined with warm temperatures, abundant sunlight, and calm water contribute to the growth of such algal blooms, which is why they often occur in summer.

Symptoms of exposure to cyanobacteria include headache, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and sometimes an allergic-like reaction from skin contact. Anyone with concerns about possible exposure to cyanobacteria should contact the Utah Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 or consult with their physician.