Toxic Algae Bloom Has Turned Pyramid Lake A Noxious Green Hue
If you were hoping on finding a cool escape from the "heat dome" this weekend, go ahead and cross Pyramid Lake off your list: a bacterial algal bloom has made the water toxic.
As NBC L.A. notes, the lake "has taken on a greenish hue" (not unlike Nickelodeon slime in our opinion) and that warm temperatures, nutrients, sunlight, are all contributing factors in keeping the bloom alive. This particular toxin is produced by cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae.
While the Department of Water Resources said that it's safe to hang out near the water, it should *not* be used for cooking, drinking (even by dogs), and boaters should avoid running over "mats" of the algae in case it accidentally sprays.
According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, at least three people have already been made sick by swimming in the toxic lake; perhaps because the L.A. County Department of Public Health failed to put up caution signs until July 12—weeks after toxic water was detected on June 28.
The DPH reported that three people feel ill between June 17 and July 10, with symptoms including skin rashes, fatigue, and diarrhea. Sharyn Martinez said that after a day of jet skiing at Pyramid Lake earlier this month, "her 13-year-old son throw up everything he ate when they got home." During that time, no signs warning the public of even the potential of harmful algae were posted.
A Department of Water Resources said that the delay to notify the public with signs was in order to "determine the extent of the bloom and whether it was increasing or decreasing." But, as per the California Water Quality Monitoring Council, a caution sign still should have been posted upon receipt of the June 28 toxin analysis two days later warning the public that “harmful algae may be present."
The California CyanoHAB Network says that during blooms of this "cyanobacteria" humans and animals should avoid contact with water "and in scum," and recommends that, "If one is going to consume fish from such waters, it is best to remove the internal organs." Noted!