Utah Lake Closed Due To Harmful Algae Bloom
SALT LAKE CITY (DEQ) – Public health officials have decided to close Utah Lake, effective immediately, due to a large, harmful algal bloom that may pose a serious health risk to the public and animals.
The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and Utah County Health Department (UCHD) say lab results for samples collected by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) show the concentration of algal cells in the water are three times the threshold for closing a body of water.
According to Dr. Joseph Miner, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Health, “These types of algae release neurotoxins and hepatotoxins, that can affect brain, nervous system, and liver function.”
“Water with these levels of concentration in the algal bloom pose serious health risks,” says Ralph Clegg, Executive Director of UCHD. “To protect the health of people and animals that use the lake, it is necessary for the lake to remain closed until it is safe for recreation.”
UDOH and UCHD will issue an order to close the lake until further notice. DEQ and State Parks and Recreation support the closure of Utah Lake. State and local health departments have the legal authority to close public places, such as a lake, to protect the health of the public.
UCHD has previously issued advisories regarding algal blooms on Utah Lake due to public health concerns, but this is the first time the entire lake has been closed. Efforts have been made to post signs at harbors and known public access locations around the lake noting that the lake is closed. Even if no signs are present, the closure of Utah Lake is still in effect.
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