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DEQ: Algal bloom continues to spread in Utah Lake

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PROVO — An algal bloom first discovered in Provo Bay in June has now spread to the majority of Utah Lake, leading the Utah County Health Department to send out warnings about blue-green algae in the lake, officials said Wednesday.

Warnings posted at the lake caution individuals to stay out of the lake because contact with the blue-green algae can cause headaches, gastrointestinal distress and skin irritation even without signs of toxins, said Donna Spangler, spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Cyanobacteria is also commonly known as blue-green algae for its color in the water.

Officials are also warning people to make sure their pets also do not go into the water.

Spangler added the level of toxins in the lake reported Wednesday isn’t yet considered a health threat to livestock. However, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is advising livestock owners to locate alternative sources of water should cyanotoxin levels rise in the future.

> UTAH LAKE UPDATE: The harmful algal bloom on [@UtahLake]( is growing. [@UCHD]( is posting advisories for the majority of the lake. [\#UtahAlgae]( > > — Utah DEQ (@UtahDEQ) [July 12, 2017](

The announcement comes after Department of Environmental Quality analyzed water collected from Utah Lake on July 6 and again on Tuesday. The results showed cell count concentrations were rising to the southern and western parts of the lake, and the Tuesday results showed toxins were present but were not at a high enough level for officials to close the lake.

Officials closed Utah Lake for about two weeks in July 2016, after an algal bloom grew to about 90 percent of the lake at that time.

Anyone who believes they may have had harmful exposure to the algae is asked to call the Utah Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or their doctor.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.


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