HERRIMAN — City officials say Blackridge Reservoir is now safe for swimming after chemical algaecide treatment decreased contamination levels.
Officials closed the reservoir the first week of August after seeing water discoloration. Preliminary testing results showed a toxicity content at two parts per billion. Dangerous contamination begins at six parts per billion, but the recreation spot remained closed.
"We got test results back earlier that showed there was no levels of toxins to cause concerns, but the (Utah Department of Health) was still concerned about the algae cell count," Herriman spokeswoman Tami Moody said. "When any body of water is used for swimming, they like that number to be very low."
As a precaution, EarthTec, an algaecide liquid copper water treatment, was broadcast across the water, reducing the algae growth levels. The water returned to a normal color and the reservoir reopened for the season Monday.
The Bischoff family expressed their excitement about the reopening. Living within walking distance from the water, the Bischoffs are regulars at Blackridge.
"I just want to splash around in the water and swim," said Sara Bischoff, 11. "When me and my sisters and brother go up there, we have water-gun fights and build sandcastles."
Rachel Bischoff, 18, said she wants to bury her siblings in the sand once more before the reservoir closes on Labor Day, but she is apprehensive about entering the water.
"It was already dirty with all the people swimming around in it all the time," she said. "Now it's even dirtier."
Richard Allred, president and CEO of Alpine Technical Services in Midvale, said the company's research shows the reservoir is safe. Not only does the algaecide EarthTec clear the water, it is safe to consume. It is a pretreatment for drinking water in Tempe, Arizona, Allred said.
Alpine Technical Services began experimenting in June with EarthTec, a product engineered by Earth Sciences Laboratories of Bentonville, Arkansas. When Allred heard about the Blackridge contamination, he contacted Herriman officials, offering a solution.
The Blackridge algae cleanup is a prototype for how EarthTec can be used throughout the state, he said. Already, EarthTec regulates Tooele wastewater ponds and a Spanish Fork community fishing lake.
Allred met earlier this week with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and discussed how he believes EarthTec could prevent possible animal and human deaths due to consumption of contaminated water.
Allred said he hopes to meet with the Utah Department of Natural Resources soon to discuss the EarthTec implementation.
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