Algal bloom found in Utah Lake’s Provo Bay; residents, pets warned

PROVO, Utah - The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is warning residents after an algal bloom was found in Utah Lake's Provo Bay.

Health officials said samples confirmed the presence of the algal species that can produce toxins.

Utah Lake is open but residents and pets are warned to avoid Provo Bay at this time.

The Utah County Health Department is stressing that Utah Lake is very large, and there are a lot of areas where people can still recreate.

However, the presence of potential harmful algal blooms in certain areas of the lake can pose health risks.

"They're actually called cyanobacteria, another name for them, but they can be hazardous to human health and are hazardous to human health," Bryce Larsen, Deputy Director of Utah County Health Department said.  "Also pets, dogs and other animals, livestock even wildlife can be impacted by the algal blooms."

On June 6, Water Quality crews got a report of an algal bloom in Provo Bay and collected five samples at various locations at and around the Swede Sportsman Access.

The DEQ said a sample taken at the Swede Sportsman Access found two toxins deemed unsafe by the DEQ and the Utah Department of Health.

Health officials said all three samples sent to the lab were also found to be unsafe.

Water Quality crews will continue to collect additional samples around the lake to monitor the conditions.

The Utah County Health Department is posting warning signs at Swede Sportsman Access near Provo Bay to warn people about the potentially harmful algal blooms.

Information from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality:

Although blue-green algae are a natural part of many freshwater ecosystems, under the right conditions they can proliferate rapidly.

High levels of nutrients in the water, combined with warm temperatures, abundant sunlight and calm water, can promote growth, resulting in extensive blooms.

These blooms consist of cyanobacteria (often referred to as blue-green algae), a type of bacteria that poses risks to humans, wildlife, domestic animals and fish.

Symptoms of exposure include headache, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and sometimes allergic-like reactions from skin contact.

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

DEQ will continue to provide updated information at habs.utah.gov.