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SARATOGA SPRINGS — State environmental officials issued their first algal bloom advisory of the year Wednesday after water collected at Saratoga Springs Marina came back with toxin levels higher than the allowed threshold.
In a statement, officials from the Division of Water Quality said they collected samples from two locations near the Saratoga Springs Marina on May 30 that they believed may have cyanobacteria based on the blue-green algae spotted there. Another sample was taken at Lindon Marina Beach on the east end of Utah Lake at the same time.
The samples were taken to the Utah Public Health Lab, where samples from the Saratoga Springs Marina picnic area “significantly exceeded the recreation health-based threshold for a Warning Advisory for microcystin,” state officials said. The results were 375 times more than the advisory level.
Signs advising visitors about the algal bloom were placed Wednesday. Water Quality officials also returned to Utah Lake Wednesday for more sampling in the area. However, officials say the advisory is only in effect for the Saratoga Springs picnic area at the moment.
Officials advise people don’t swim, water ski or ingest water in the affected area. They added pets should also be kept away from the water.
According to the Utah Department of Health, microcystin can affect the liver. Symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. Contact with harmful algal blooms can also cause eye irritation, rash or hives. Symptoms in pets may include weakness, fatigue, difficulty breathing and vomiting.
Wednesday's advisory is the latest algal bloom in Utah Lake during recent years. Water samples taken on June 20, 2018, led to signs posted at Lincoln Marina, Sandy Beach, Provo Bay and Utah Lake State Park on June 25, 2018. Lincoln Beach and Marina in Spanish Fork and Lindon Marina in Vineyard each were closed during portions of the summer because of the toxin levels in algal blooms.
Large-scale algal blooms were also reported in Utah Lake during 2016 and 2017. At one point in July 2016, an algal bloom covered about 90 percent of the lake.