The California Department of Water Resources is urging people to keep out of the water at Pyramid Lake due to blue-green algae until further notice, according to a news release.
The Department of Water Resources has also issued a warning to not eat any fish caught from the lake due to the algae, also known as cyanobacteria.
Signs warning of the danger have been posted around the lake with Emigrant Landing and and Vaquero beaches have been closed to swimming. A caution advisory had been in effect for the lake since Jun 15. DWR states that the advisory does not apply to Castaic or Castaic Lagoon.
Pyramid Lake contained 22.8 micrograms per liter of microcystins when the water was sampled on Jul 10. These levels prompted danger signs to be posted at the reservoir.
Toxic blue-green algae exposure can cause eye irritation, allergic skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold- and flu-like symptoms. Pets are extra-susceptible because they tend to drink while in the water and lick their fur afterwards, according to the news release.
According to DWR, algae bloom conditions can change rapidly, as wind and waves may move or concentrate the bloom into different regions of the lake. The algal bloom can accumulate into mats and scum, form foam at the surface and along the shoreline, and range in color from blue, green, white, or brown.
State guidelines on cyanobacteria and other harmful algal blooms recommend the following precautions be taken in waters impacted by blue-green algae:
- Take care that pets and livestock do not drink the water, swim through algal blooms, scum, or mats, or lick their fur after going in the water. Rinse pets in clean water to remove algae from fur.
- Avoid wading, swimming, or jet or water skiing in water containing algae blooms, scum, or mats.
- Do not drink, cook, or wash dishes with untreated surface water from these areas under any circumstances. Common water purification techniques such as camping filters, tablets, and boiling do not remove toxins.
- Do not eat mussels or other bivalves collected from these areas. Limit or avoid eating fish. If fish are consumed, remove the guts and liver and rinse filets in clean drinking water.
- Get medical treatment immediately if you think that you, a family member, friend, pet, or livestock might have been poisoned by blue-green algae toxins. Be sure to alert medical professionals to the possible contact with blue-green algae. Also, make sure to contact the local county public health department.
For more information visit the following government websites to be better informed about cyanobacteria:
- California Department of Public Health
- State Water Resources Control Board
- CA Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
- US Environmental Protection Agency: CyanoHAB website
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention