Utah Lake reopens to boaters after latest toxic algae test shows downward trend

Posted at 5:18 PM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 19:21:37-04

SALT LAEK CITY — Utah Lake is open for boating again after a toxic algal bloom prompted a closure earlier this month, however residents are still advised to avoid swimming, jet skiing or other activities that involve contact with lake water.

According to a press release from the Department of Environmental Quality, the latest batch of tests indicate the blue-green algae is dissipating at most locations in Utah Lake, the Jordan River and the associated canals.

The advisory for the lake is being downgraded to a warning rather than an outright closure, and recreational users should continue to adhere to posted signage and exercise caution. Visitors are asked to remain watchful for any changes in water color that may indicate the presence of blue-green algae.

“This is encouraging news,” stated Ben Holcomb, coordinator of Water Quality’s Harmful Algae Bloom Program.  “Yet under the right conditions algae blooms can reappear so we remain cautious.”

Samples from last week showed low to no detection of toxins in the lake’s open waters, except for the Lincoln Beach/Harbor area. In that area the samples tested for levels much higher than the recreational threshold.

“We will continue working with the state to monitor the lake,” UCHD Executive Director Ralph Clegg stated. “Ongoing monitoring is vital since this is still early in the season for algal blooms. We will continue to inform the public of health risks associated with algal blooms.”

Officials are continuing to monitor the situation, and they expect another round of results to be ready by early next week.