UPDATE: Toxic algal advisory remains in affect until Monday for Echo and Rockport reservoirs
Summit County Health Department issues advisory warning
- Do not swim or water ski. No nade o practique el esquí acuático.
- Do not drink the water. No tome el agua.
- Keep pets and livestock away. Mantenga alejados las mascotas y el ganado.
- Clean fish well and discard guts. Limpie bien el pescado y deseche las tripas.
- Avoid areas of scum when boating. Evite las áreas con espuma o verdín cuando ande en lancha.
The Summit County Health Department issued an advisory on Wednesday warning people of toxic algal growths that were detected in the Rockport and Echo reservoirs.
Earlier this week, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality conducted several tests at the reservoirs, and the samples showed the presence of harmful algal blooms, according to Phil Bondurant, Summit County’s environmental health director. The reservoirs are located in eastern Summit County.
Wednesday afternoon, the Health Department issued an advisory warning people of the harmful nature of the toxins. Bondurant said the algae can cause illness in people and animals.
“Based on the percentages and the concentrations within those samples, it was determined it would be best to put out advisories at each of the reservoirs,” he said. “It is just a proactive measure to ensure we are protecting the public’s health.”
The algal blooms, Bondurant said, are in localized areas like “small floating islands.” They do tend to migrate across bodies of water depending on wind, he said, which is why the advisory was issued for the entire reservoir.
Toxic algal blooms are traditionally correlated with temperature, sunlight and trepidation, Bondurant said.
“What is happening here is we are seeing these blooms occur as a result of warmer water in the reservoir,” he said. “The upper 6 to 18 inches of water is staying relatively warm. But, harmful algae is always in the reservoirs. It usually stays at bay, but as we see lake levels drop, we start to see that sediment stirred up. That might be a contributing factor.”
Bondurant said health officials are surprised to see toxic levels this late into the season. He added, “We thought we had skipped another season.” Toxic levels were recently detected at Hoop Lake in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Bondurant said. But, he added, the samples indicated the threat dissipated quickly.
This week, the Department of Environmental Quality were also detected toxic levels at the Jordanelle Reservoir in Wasatch County, Bondurant said.
The Department of Environmental Quality took water samples from the Echo and Rockport reservoirs on Thursday to determine if the threat was still present. The advisory will remain in place through Monday, Oct. 23, and results from additional tests will determine if it will be lifted, according to the Health Department.
“This is a great example of how the state and the local health department are working together to protect the public and the community,” he said. “The line of communication in getting this out in a timely manner has been fairly impressive.”
For more information and updates, go to http://www.summitcountyhealth.org or call Summit County Environmental Health at 435-333-1511.
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