Upper Castaic Lake has reopened to boating with a “caution algal bloom” advisory. The Department of Water Resources urges people to avoid physical contact with water at Castaic Lake until further notice due to the presence of toxic blue-green algae.
The advisory regarding the lake only applies to water in the lake, and does not refer to treated water in the municipal water supply.
This week’s lab results show a decrease in toxin levels at Upper Castaic Lake. Castaic Lagoon, also known as lower Castaic Lake, has no algal bloom advisory and is open to non-motorized boating.
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 because they tend to drink while in the water and lick their fur afterward. 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, 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 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 algal 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 shellfish from this water. For fish caught here, throw away guts and clean fillets with tap water or bottled water before cooking.
• 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 county Public Health Department.