An early algae bloom at Rockport Reservoir caused the Summit County Health Department to issue a boating and bathing warning to recreationists. As of this week, the warning has been lifted and the lake is now open for use. Carolyn Murray has this:
The algal bloom came early this year whereas last year, Rockport had a later than normal bloom. Summit County Environmental Health Director, Phil Bondurant says the algal bloom is always unwelcome and is a big health issue. It’s called Algal instead of Algea because it represents multiple species.
The blooms can be extremely toxic. A dog died from consuming water in Utah Lake a couple of years ago. Microorganisms live in the soils and rocks on the bottom of lakes and reservoirs. Colder water is released from dams from the bottom of the reservoir so as the sun warms the water, the Algae blooms grow, and as they grow, toxins are produced.
The wind shifts in the evening hours and the bloom typically migrates in to the shore. Biologists found the bloom along the shoreline early in the day.
Bondurant says sometimes the Algae blooms can’t be seen unless you’re right over the top of them.
Bondurant says in the interest of public health and safety, people are encouraged to avoid anything that looks suspicious.
The Algal Blooms are unpredictable and can disperse, migrate, break off in pieces and expand or shrink.
Bondurant doesn’t want to limit recreation and realizes that many long time users are aware of the problem and have learned to avoid contact. In addition to Rockport, Echo, Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs all had toxic algal blooms last year.
Bondurant says if you have contact with an algae bloom, get out, wash it off with soap and water as quickly as possible. If a pet is exposed, see a vet immediately. For now, the health department has lifted the warning and they’ll continue monitoring through the year.