SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Lake, which has been in the grips of a harmful algal bloom since the start of summer, now has a second area contaminated by E.coli, prompting a new warning for the recreating public.
Water samples are showing elevated levels of E.coli at the Lindon Drain area as well as Sandy Beach, where the bacteria was first detected in July, said the Utah Department of Environmental Quality on Tuesday.
The majority of the lake continues to be under an advisory due to the outbreak of a harmful algal bloom in June that was brought on by excess nutrients, an abundance of sunshine and stagnant water.
Representatives from the Utah County Health Department posted "caution" signs Tuesday morning at two locations as a result of the E.coli bacteria levels.
Although samples from the Lindon Marina tested under the limit for recreational water, the agencies are urging the public to avoid the area just north of there, commonly called the Lindon Drain area.
Caution signs are advising the public to refrain from ingesting the water, that it is unsafe for swimming or deep wading and that people should wash their hands after handling fish or coming in contact with any lake water.
“E. coli infection is serious with severe complications in some cases. The public is strongly encouraged to take the caution seriously in these areas of high E. coli and stay out of the water to protect your health," said Ralph Clegg, executive director of the Utah County Health Department.
E. coli infection typically causes diarrhea and abdominal cramps, with or without a fever, and can lead to kidney failure and death.
So far, state water quality regulators have been unable to identify a clear source of the bacteria at either site, but collection of water samples will continue.