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Algae bloom prompts closure of Blackridge Reservoir

(Stacie Scott/Deseret News)


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HERRIMAN — Blackridge Reservoir was closed this week until further notice due to an algae bloom that city officials say could pose as a potential health risk for swimmers.

Water in the reservoir comes from both Utah Lake and Deer Creek Reservoir. The city of Herriman tests the water regularly and the reservoir water has remained safe for swimmers until the recent algae bloom, said Tami Moody, the city's director of administration and communication.

"We immediately asked everyone to get out of the water because there could potentially be a concern," Moody said. "We just didn't want to risk it any longer until we had the set of results back."

The algae bloom itself contains four to five dominant species of algae that, in high enough concentrations, could pose a risk to those entering the water — though the official toxicity level of the reservoir has yet to be determined.

"We don't think that they are at that level yet," she said, "but we sent them to another lab for some final testing."

The Blackridge Reservoir has been closed due to an algae bloom that poses a potential health risk, in Herriman on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. (Photo: Stacie Scott, Deseret News)
The Blackridge Reservoir has been closed due to an algae bloom that poses a potential health risk, in Herriman on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. (Photo: Stacie Scott, Deseret News)

Algae spores can enter bodies of water by rain, wind and animals. The spores can grow into blooms under sunny conditions in water that has lower amounts of circulation and filtration, which is how the Blackridge Reservoir algae bloom has appeared.

"The three aerators in the bottom of the reservoir somehow became extremely clogged and malfunctioned. We immediately noticed that the next morning when the reservoir was green," explained Moody. "It was unexpected that they stopped working, but we did work immediately to get them cleaned out."

City crews were quickly sent to the murky body of water, cleaned out two of the aerators, replaced the third and used a pump to circulate the water — all in an attempt to clean the water for the Saturday triathlon, according to Moody.

Unfortunately, the algae was continuing to grow despite efforts of the crews, prompting the city to officially close the reservoir and send water samples to the lab.


It appears that there is quite a bit of panic right now, that everybody should be looking for certain symptoms or certain things to be happening. We don't have any of that information right now.

–Tami Moody, Herriman City


Moody said there has been some misinformation shared on social media.

"It appears that there is quite a bit of panic right now, that everybody should be looking for certain symptoms or certain things to be happening. We don't have any of that information right now," she said.

The closure is just a precautionary measure in case there was something toxic in the water, but preliminary testing did not identify any specific concerns, according to Moody.

Herriman officials will receive the official water toxicity report early next week and said they will notify the public of any potential health dangers and treat the water if necessary.

Meanwhile, the Herriman Blackridge Triathlon will continue as scheduled on Saturday. However, the course will vary slightly since the swimming portion will now take place at the J. L. Sorenson Recreation Center.


Cassidy Hansen is currently studying both Political Science and Communications at Brigham Young University, while working as an intern at the Deseret News. Contact her at chansen@deseretnews.com

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Cassidy Hansen

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