Algal bloom problem in Utah Lake continues to spread

Jun 25, 2018, 7:31 PM | Updated: 9:14 pm

PROVO, Utah – The harmful algal bloom on Utah Lake has spread beyond where it was first detected in Provo Bay two weeks ago. As a result, the Utah County Health Department has warned people and pets to stay out of the scummy green algae in Provo Bay Utah Lake State Park, Lincoln Beach and Sandy Beach.

To better warn the public and detect the harmful blooms earlier, the Utah Division of Water Quality has intensified monitoring this year using satellite imagery, buoys on the water and sampling in the lake.

“We’re in full swing,” said Ben Holcomb, harmful algal blooms program coordinator for the Utah Division of Water Quality.

Crews with the Utah Division of Water Quality in the field and in the office have been monitoring full-time for algal blooms now, prioritizing bodies of water that have shown cyanobacteria.

“Anywhere where we have an advisory, we’re going to hit that area at least once a week,” said Holcomb.

They use satellite imagery to focus  on areas where algal blooms maybe forming. Several buoys in Utah Lake and two other bodies of water also pick up real time data readings in the water around the clock.

Satellite imagery and buoys on the water help the technicians zero in on areas with thick blooms.

“If we see it moving one way or another, or we see it intensifying in a particular area we will know to intensify our monitoring efforts for those places,” said Holcomb.

Data from satellites, buoys and water samples give them a clearer understanding of the blooms than ever before.

“You start to get a nice picture of what’s going on with the lake,” said Ryan Parker, a water quality technician with the Utah Division of Water Quality who was taking water samples at the lake Monday.

“That’s the hope, that we will be able to develop a model that shows maybe in the future they can predict whether these things are going to happen, or not,” he said.

“A week ago, we had a green mass all on this beach area,” said Parker standing along the shore of the lake near Utah Lake State Park.

He said that algal bloom doesn’t look as bad as it did last week.

Lincoln Beach Marin, however, looks worse, he said.

Both spots were now on the list of areas to avoid along the shore. Both areas have still been testing positive for toxins related to the algal bloom.

“This is fairly early in the season,” said Parker. “So, I would suspect that we will continue to see stuff like this for the rest of the summer. As long as it stays hot like this.”

The technicians tested the water at 16 sites around the lake last week, and again Monday. Last week, they detected high concentrations of cyanobacteria and toxins at Lincoln Marina, Sandy Beach, Provo Bay, and Utah Lake State Park

Tests showed levels above that recommended for swimming and pets. Lab results from the samples were expected to be available in a few days. Meantime, the Utah County Health Department has alerted people and pets to stay out of the water in those areas.

“We are seeing signs of it popping up,” Holcomb said of the algal bloom. “It’s not lake wide yet. We’re continuing to collect samples out of the main body of water.”

Check with the Utah DEQ Harmful Algal Blooms website for more detailed information.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A photo shows a cheer team prayer circle at Reagan's house, with "heart attack" hearts on the garag...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Family is ‘praying for miracles’ after two girls hit by car in Spanish Fork

The Spanish Fork community is rooting for the recovery of two girls who were hit by a car over the weekend. Those girls are hospitalized at Primary Children’s, where both families have been staying by their sides.

2 hours ago

A Utah man purchased Aerosmith tickets back when the show was scheduled in 2023, but the show got p...

Matt Gephardt

Utahns fighting for refunds on postponed Aerosmith concert

A Utah man purchased Aerosmith tickets back when the show was scheduled in 2023, but the show got pushed to a day that no longer works for him. He decided to Get Gephardt when his quest for a refund hit a dead end.

3 hours ago

this is a graphic treatment over a shot of downtown SLC, created for the story. (KSL TV)...

Ken Fall and Mike Headrick

Utah’s sports surge: What the state’s big plans could mean for future generations

Do big sports, big plans and big changes mean big wins for Utahns? From professional hockey to plans for Major League Baseball and another shot at the Olympic spotlight, the possibilities for Utah seem endless.

3 hours ago

A Bell 505 helicopter demonstrated the takeoff and landing capabilities that future air taxis will ...

Kiersten Nunez

A glimpse into the future of urban air travel with Utah’s first vertiport demonstration

An empty parking lot in Layton has been transformed into the stage for Utah’s first vertiport demonstration, offering a vision of the future of urban air travel.

3 hours ago

Mark Jones

One person dead after being struck by a TRAX train

Utah Transit Authority officials said Monday night that one person died Monday night after being struck by a northbound Green Line TRAX train.

4 hours ago

A Utah Highway Patrol emblem is pictured as shown on the side of a UHP vehicle. (Utah Highway Patro...

Mark Jones

Semitruck rolls into Deer Creek Reservoir, driver is missing

The Utah Highway Patrol said at least one person is unaccounted for after a semitruck crash Monday night at Deer Creek Reservoir. 

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Algal bloom problem in Utah Lake continues to spread