The Vallecitos Water District received two awards for its innovative use of technology to reduce algae blooms at the Stanley A. Mahr Reservoir in San Marcos. The district received the “Excellence in Action” award from the national WateReuse Association, and the “Innovation and Resiliency” award from the California Association of Sanitation Agencies, or CASA.
Public health officials are urging boaters, swimmers and recreational water users to be on the lookout for hazardous blue-green algae blooms as warm temperatures persist.
San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department officials said in a news release Monday that staff have posted advisory signs at local marinas warning people to stay out of the water where toxic algae is present.
Summertime means fun in the water, but as temperatures increase, algal blooms can grow in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Some algae are natural and life-giving, while others are the result of life out of balance and can have harmful effects. Consisting of bacteria and tiny plankton, they arise quickly and alter the ecosystem by consuming available oxygen, killing fish.
Residents of a town in central California won’t have water for several days after the town’s water treatment plant became clogged with algae, officials said. The water outage in Dos Palos started Monday, when the city declared a water emergency and urged the town’s 5,000 residents to use only boiled tap water for drinking and cooking to avoid stomach or intestinal illness.
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Beautiful Lindo Lake in Lakeside is looking a bit different these days. People living nearby want to know why the lake seems to be a bright shade of green. Mindy Collier and other Lakeside residents who frequent the lake know all too well about the algae-like affair. “It seems to have improved a little bit,” said Collier. “It looks a little better.” The lake is only about three feet deep; combined with hot summers and slow-moving waters, it’s prime blooming grounds for blue-green algae, which, despite its name, is actually a bacteria.
An outbreak of blue-green algae will keep Diamond Valley Lake closed until at least Friday, July 6. The algal bloom has turned the water green and is releasing cyanotoxins, which in high concentrations can be harmful to humans and animals, especially when ingested. “Cyanotoxin levels continue to improve, however in part of the lake they remain above levels we would like to see to reopen the lake to recreation,” Metropolitan Water District spokeswoman Rebecca Kimitch wrote in a message Tuesday, July 3.
The words blasted to cellphones around Oregon’s capital city were ominous: “Civil emergency . prepare for action.” Within half an hour, a second official alert clarified the subject wasn’t impending violence but toxins from an algae bloom detected in Salem’s water supply. Across the U.S., reservoirs that supply drinking water and lakes used for recreation are experiencing similar events with growing frequency. The trend represents another impact of global warming and raises looming questions about the effects on human health, researchers say.