Panguitch Lake Closed Due to High Toxin Levels

Panguitch Lake

Panguitch Lake northeast shore, September 13, 2018

The Southwestern Utah Health Department has issued a Danger Advisory/Closure for Panguitch Lake based on extremely high toxin levels in the lake from an ongoing cyanobacteria bloom. Closure signs will be posted today.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) contacted livestock operators in the area to recommend they prevent their cattle from drinking water from the reservoir and downstream sources. UDAF advises producers to find alternative water sources until conditions improve.

Toxin test results from the Utah Public Health Lab (UPHL) for samples collected on September 12, 2018, show microcystin levels after 5000x dilution that were 18.5 times higher than the recreation health-based threshold for a Danger Advisory. Further dilutions by the lab will be necessary to quantify microcystin concentrations, and these levels could go even higher after these dilutions.

DWQ also collected samples from Panguitch Creek at the White Bridge Campground below Panguitch Lake on September 18, 2018. Toxin test results were non-detect for anatoxin and >5 µg/L for microcystins. Further dilutions by the lab will be necessary to quantify microcystin concentrations, and the preliminary values could go even higher after these dilutions.

A Danger Advisory indicates a high relative probability of acute health risk, cell count densities greater than 10,000,000 cells/ml, microcystins levels greater than 2,000 µg/L, cylindrospermopsin levels greater than 8 µg/L, or anatoxin-a levels greater than 90 µg/L. 

Panguitch Lake

Northeast shore on September 13, 2018

Toxin Test Results

Panguitch Lake ( Utah Public Health Lab (UPHL)

  • Anatoxin-a: <0.1 micrograms per liter (µg/L)
  • Microcystin: 37,000 µg/L

White Bridge Campground below Panguitch Lake (Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) lab)

  • Anatoxin-a: <0.1 µg/L
  • Microcystin: >5 µg/L

The Division of Water Quality (DWQ) and UDAF is visiting Panguitch Lake today, September 24, 2018, to collect further samples. Visit DEQ’s harmful algal bloom (HAB) pages for more information on HABs and HABs advisories across the state.

Southwestern Utah Health Department News Release

News Release, September 24, 2018

Toxic Algae Detected in Panguitch Lake

PANGUITCH,UT – The Southwest Utah Public Health Department (SWUPHD) is issuing a “danger” advisory for Panguitch Lake due to hazardous levels of toxic algae. People and animals should keep out of the water until further notice. Warning signs are being posted at the lake and health officials will continue to sample and monitor the water there.

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), made of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), can occur in lakes and reservoirs and may contain toxins that are a health hazard to humans and animals.

The most common symptoms of exposure to HABs include gastrointestinal illness and skin irritation. Some toxins can cause liver, respiratory, or neurological problems.

HABs may look like pea soup, green or blue paint, or a scum layer floating on the surface.
If you’ve been exposed to a HAB, contact the Utah Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222. HABs can be reported to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality at 801-536-4123.