Stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake. That’s the message the Department of Water Resources (DWR) released Friday after detecting “danger” levels of algal blooms.
DWR officials said they have posted signs around the lake and Emigrant Landing and have also closed Vaquero beaches to swimming. A caution advisory has been in effect since June 15. And this advisory doesn’t apply to neighboring Castaic Lake, which is still open to boating and swimming at Castaic Lake’s lagoon.
Officials said water samples from July 10 found 22.8 micrograms per liter of microcystins at Pyramid Lake. The signs were posted based on the potential health risks from algae. Symptoms of toxic blue-green algae exposure include: 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.
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.