Algae threat removed for Pyramid Lake, Castaic Lake

Boating is a common recreational activity at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County, California. Photo taken July 31, 2019. Florence Low / California Department of Water Resources, FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY
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State water officials lifted a caution advisory Friday about the threat of algae for both Pyramid Lake and Castaic Lake.

The caution had been in place at both lakes since Oct. 12.

Despite removing the caution, however, officials with the Department of Water Resources urge all recreational users to exercise caution and avoid direct contact with blue-green algae.

The 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, state officials said.

Pets can be especially susceptible because they tend to drink while in the water and lick their fur afterward. Keep pets away from the water, they noted in their news release Friday.

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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On Twitter: @jamesarhurholt

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