SACRAMENTO – Today, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) urged people to stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).
Danger signs have been posted around the lake, and Emigrant Landing and Vaquero beaches are closed to swimming. A caution advisory had been in effect for the lake since June 15. This advisory does not apply to Castaic Lake, which is open to boating. Swimming is allowed at Castaic Lake’s lagoon.
Water sampled on July 10 at Pyramid Lake contained 22.8 micrograms per liter of microcystins, a level that prompts danger signs to be posted at the reservoir.
The recommendation is based on the potential health risks from algae.Toxic blue-green algae exposure 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 afterwards.
Bloom conditions can change rapidly, and 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 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:
- 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
Maggie Macias, Information Officer, Public Affairs, Department of Water Resources
(916) 653-8743 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.