Check Pyramid Lake off the list of places to enjoy a cool dip during the blazing Southern California heat wave this weekend.
The Department of Water Resources said this week that a cyanobacteria algal bloom first detected in June is continuing at the lake just off the 5 Freeway in northwestern Los Angeles County. Recent sampling for toxins showed levels high enough to keep no-swimming signs posted on the lake's beaches.
The department said sunlight, warm temperatures, nutrients in the water and calm conditions contribute to algal blooms. The lake has taken on a greenish hue due to the bloom.
Picnicking and hiking near the water is safe, but dogs should not be allowed to drink from the lake. The water should not be used for cooking, and boaters should avoid running over mats of algae to prevent accidental ingestion of spray.
The department issued the following tips:
- Avoid water contact, including wading, swimming and water-skiing.
- If you come in contact with the water, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible.
- Do not allow dogs to drink or go into the water or eat scum on the shoreline.
- Do not drink or cook with lake water. Boiling or filtering the water will not remove the toxins.
- Avoid boating over mats of algae to prevent accidental inhalation or ingestion of spray.
- Eating fish or shellfish caught in the lake is not recommended. If you choose to consume fish, remove the guts and liver and rinse fillets in tap water before eating the fish.
- Always warn young children not to swallow any lake water, whether or not you see signs of algae.
- If you or your pet become sick after going in the water, contact your doctor or veterinarian.
Exposure to high concentrations can cause skin rashes, eye, nose, mouth or throat irritation, headache and gastrointestinal upset. Dogs can also become ill.