Los Angeles residents flocked to Castaic Lake on Labor Day to celebrate the holiday out of the heat. Matt Fernandez/ The Signal

State removes algae caution for Castaic Lake

As end-of-summer temperatures hover near triple digits, state officials announced just in time for people seeking to cool off at Castaic Lake that the caution about algae has been lifted.

On Monday, officials at the Department of Water Resources removed a caution advisory that had been in effect since Aug. 23 at Castaic Lake in Los Angeles County. 

That said, they also urge all recreational users to exercise caution and avoid direct contact with blue-green algae.

Advisories are based on the potential health risks from algae. Exposure to toxic blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, can cause eye irritation, allergic skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold- and flu-like symptoms. 

Pets can be especially susceptible, state officials note, because they tend to drink while in the water and lick their fur afterward. Pet owners are advised to keep pets away from the water.

Bloom conditions can change rapidly, and wind and waves may move or concentrate the bloom into different regions of the reservoir. 

The algal bloom can accumulate into mats, scum, or form foam at the surface and along the shoreline, and range in colors including blue, green, white, or brown.

State guidelines on cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms recommend the following precautions be taken in waters impacted by blue-green algae:

  • Do not let pets and livestock 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 fish or shellfish from this 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.

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