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Officials issue warning after algal toxins at Yuba Lake reach unhealthy levels

SHARE Officials issue warning after algal toxins at Yuba Lake reach unhealthy levels
Yuba Lake is pictured in 2007. Luis Leon, 22, of Springville, drowned in the lake on Saturday, June 13, 2020.

Yuba Lake is pictured in 2007.

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LEVAN, Juab County — Anyone hoping to recreate around Yuba Lake in the coming weeks should exercise caution due to unsafe levels of algal toxins, the Central Utah Public Health Department warned on Monday.

The department is advising people not to swim, boat or water ski in areas of algae scum, thoroughly clean fish and discard guts, keep animals away and avoid ingesting water from the lake.

Accidental ingestion or inhalation of toxic water is the most common pathway for human exposure, according to the EPA.

The Eagle View, Oasis and North Beach areas have surpassed the state’s threshold, the department said. However, algae may move or disperse depending on temperature, wind and weather, meaning swimmers and boaters should be extra cautious.

The department is advising anyone who recently visited Yuba Lake to call Utah Poison Control or a local physician if experiencing gastrointestinal distress, skin irritations or headaches.

The warning was issued after a toxin test conducted by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Quality along the north shore of the lake showed microcystin levels of 128 micrograms per liter.

According to the EPA, microcystin, believed to be the most widespread algal toxin, can be damaging to the liver and is a possible human carcinogen.