Payson Lakes Algal Bloom 2016

Report a Bloom

24-Hour DEQ Environment Incidents Line: (801) 536-4123

Call Utah Poison Control Center

If you believe you or your pet have been exposed to a harmful algal bloom, call (800) 222-1222.

Data


Update: October 11, 2016

Caution advisories were removed from McKellen and Box Lakes on October 5, 2016.

Big East Lake remains closed for the season. The Division of Water Quality (DWQ) collected samples last week but doesn’t anticipate changes to the advisories until the end of October.


Update: September 19, 2016

Utah County Health Department News Release: Algal Bloom Advisories change both for the better and worse

Utah County Health Department (UCHD) officials have updated advisories for Payson Lakes:

  • Big East Lake: changed from a WARNING to a DANGER advisory
  • All other Payson Lakes: CAUTION advisory

Recent high toxin counts in Big East Lake prompted the DANGER advisory, which prohibits people and animals from being in or on Big East Lake.

In areas with a CAUTION advisory, swimming and other water activities are allowed, but recreators should stay out of areas of scum. Pets and livestock should not go into the water, drink the water, or venture into areas of scum along the shore.

Sampling Results

Cyanobacteria cell-count concentration results for two samples taken at Big East Lake on September 14, 2016, showed concentrations in the high range (>10,000,000). Total concentrations from the samples at Big East Lake were approximately 13.1 million cells per milliliter (mL), with one sample containing approximately 10.9 million cells/mL of Dolichospernum crassum (a species capable of high toxin production), and approximately 1.3 million cells/mL of Dolichospernum planktonicum.

Screening-level toxin test strip results from the September 14, 2016, samples showed microcystin levels >10 micrograms per liter (ug/L). These samples will be sent to the labs for further testing. Additional samples will be collected tomorrow, September 20, 2016.


Update: August 30, 2016

Utah County Health Department News Release: Algal Bloom Advisories Increased in 3 Water Bodies Algal Bloom Advisories Increased from CAUTION to WARNING

The Utah County Health Department (UCHD) has increased its advisory for McClellan from a CAUTION to a WARNING based on recent test results and monitoring. The public should not swim in water bodies under a WARNING advisory. While boating activities are allowed under a WARNING advisory, recreators should avoid areas of scum. In areas with a CAUTION advisory, swimming and other water activities are allowed, but recreators should stay out of areas of scum. Pets and livestock should not be allowed in or allowed to drink the water at any advisory level.


Update: August 29, 2016

Cyanobacteria cell count results from the August 23, 2016, samples were in the low to moderate range (20,000 to 100,000 cells/milliliter (mL) for Big East Lake (23,000 cells/mL), but were in the moderate to high range (100,000 to 10 million cells/mL) for Box Lake (1 million cells/mL) and McClellan lake (4 million cells/mL).

Screening-level toxin test strips showed the presence of microcystins in Big East Lake at >10 micrograms per liter (ug/L). Samples were sent to EPA for further toxin analysis.

Warning signs remain posted at Box Lake and Big East Lake. A caution advisory is posted for McClellan Lake.


Update: August 22, 2016

Utah County Health Department News Release: Algal Bloom Advisories Increased from CAUTION to WARNING

Utah County Health Department (UCHD) officials issued updated advisories for Payson Lakes today. Changes to advisories are based on recent test results and monitoring.

  • Box Lake: from a CAUTION to a WARNING advisory (based on cyanobacteria cell counts and the presence of toxins)

Advisories remain the same for the following two lakes:

  • Big East Lake: remains at a WARNING advisory
  • McKellen Lake: remains at a CAUTION advisory

The public should not swim in water bodies under a WARNING advisory. While boating activities are allowed under a WARNING advisory, recreators should avoid areas of scum. In areas with a CAUTION advisory, swimming and other water activities are allowed, but recreators should stay out of areas of scum. Pets and livestock should not be allowed in or allowed to drink the water at any advisory level.

Sampling Results

DWQ has received the following results from sampling conducted on August 16, 2016.

Cyanobacteria cell counts were in the low to moderate range (20,000 to 100,000 cells/mL) at Big East Lake (23,000 cells/mL), but were in the moderate to high range (100,000 to 10 million cells/mL) at Box Lake (6.8 million cells/mL).

Microcystins were detected in both Big East Lake (>10 (ug/L) and Box Lake (>5 (ug/L) using screening-level toxin test strips. These samples will be sent for further toxin analysis. Anatoxin-a and Cylindrospermopsin were non-detect.


Update: August 15, 2016

DWQ has received cyanobacteria cell-count results from August 9, 2016, sampling. Toxin results from this sampling should be available later this week. The division will continue to coordinate with the local health departments and other partner agencies as results come in.

DWQ and its partners will continue to sample the Payson Lakes until cell counts and toxin concentrations are within the low-risk range for two consecutive samples.

Cyanobacteria cell counts decreased in Big East Lake from millions of cells/mL to cell counts in the low to moderate health-risk range (20,000 to 100,000 cells/mL).Warning signs are still posted at Big East and McClellan Lakes.


Update: August 9, 2016

Cyanobacteria cell count data from two of the samples collected on August 3, 2016, from McClellan Lake showed cyanobacteria cell counts of 2.5 million and 4 million cells/mL which prompted “Caution” signs to be placed by UCHD. On August 3, UCHD posted “Warning” signs at Big East Lake, where cell counts were greater than 10 million cells/mL and microcystin levels were measured at 427µg/L. Payson City has stopped drawing water from the lakes for irrigation water.


Update: August 3, 2016

Utah County Health Department News Release: Algal Bloom Detected in Big East Lake

The Utah County Health Department (UCHD) is posting WARNING signs today at Big East Lake advising people to stay out of the lake. Samples collected July 28, 2016, showed cell counts significantly over the “dangerous”human health risk threshold of 10 million cells per milliliter (mL) established in the World Health Organization’s guidance on harmful algal blooms.

The public is asked to avoid swimming, boating, or water skiing in areas of scum. In addition, people should not drink lake water and keep pets and livestock away. Anglers should clean their fish well with non-lake water and discard the guts responsibly.

UCDH crews are collecting samples today and will conduct preliminary screening tests in the field to determine whether samples need to be submitted to a lab for more detailed toxin analysis. Crews are sampling and testing other areas as well.

Payson City has stopped drawing water from the lake for its pressurized irrigation system. The city is currently using Strawberry water, Spring Lake water, and wells and springs for its pressurized irrigation system. Residents of Payson City do not need to be concerned about using their pressurized irrigation system while the health authorities are conducting additional testing on Big East Lake.

If residents wish to take additional precautions, officials suggest they run their sprinklers  after 10:00 p.m. and before 6:00 a.m. to avoid any exposure to the spray. Children should avoid playing in the sprinklers. Concerned citizens may contact the city offices at (801) 465-5200 for more information.

Symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure include headache, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and skin rash. Those concerned about possible exposure are asked to call the Utah Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 or their physician. Those concerned about possible pet or animal exposure to animals should contact their veterinarian.


Update: August 2, 2016

The Utah County Health Department is warning the public, their pets, and other animals to stay out of Big East Lake in Payson Canyon after a sample collected on July 28, 2016, showed cyanobacteria cell counts over four times the “dangerous” human health risk threshold of 10 million cells per milliliter (mL).

Sample results showed counts of 45.6 million cells/mL of Gloeotrichia echinulata, a species of cyanobacteria capable of producing toxins that can cause gastrointestinal problems and skin rashes. Another cyanobacteria species, Microcystis was also found in the sample, but at extremely low levels (less than 1000 cells/mL).

UCHD will collect additional samples later this week to test for toxins. A large cyanobacteria bloom containing several different species of cyanobacteria forced the closure of Payson Lake last summer.