State Issues Toxic Algae Bloom Warning for Deer Creek Reservoir Ahead of Labor Day

Sep 4, 2020

A photo provided by the state of Utah illustrates the "pea soup" variant of toxic algae bloom. This bloom occurred at the Jordanelle Reservoir in November 2019.
Credit Utah Department of Environmental Quality

A warm bout of Labor Day Weekend weather is likely to draw people to the area reservoirs. However, the Wasatch County Health Department issued a warning restricting some recreating Thursday for Deer Creek Reservoir due to a potentially harmful algal bloom that can make people and animals sick if they are exposed. 


Occasionally large amounts of cyanobacteria result in large algae blooms, so the advice is to not swim, water ski, or boat in the areas where scum is observed. The samples have been collected from Deer Creek Reservoir and officials are waiting for test results. 


If recreating in areas where blooms have been identified, the recommendations include washing hands with clean water, thoroughly, before eating, and don’t swallow water from the lake. When cleaning fish, discard the guts where animals can’t get to them and keep pets out of the water when the alerts are in place. 


Symptoms for humans could include rashes, hives, or blisters if the algal meets the skin. 

If the contaminated water droplets are inhaled, people can have an allergic reaction such as asthma, runny nose and sore throat. 


Other symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, stomach pain, weakness, tingling, dizziness, or trouble breathing from swallowing this contaminated water.


Animals also need to be kept away from the water. Their symptoms could include vomiting, staggering, weakness, convulsions and difficulty breathing. 


Water with dangerous blooms might appear blue-green and look like paint on the surface, or like pea soup. The state has a photo gallery to help with spotting the toxic blooms at its website.


If you think you or your pet have been exposed, call the Utah Poison Control Center (UPCC) at 800-222-1222. Physicians, pharmacists, and nurses who are trained in toxicology can advise you further.