Dog dies after visit to Utah Lake, where toxic algal blooms are rampant

“Keep your pets away from the lake,” dog’s owner says.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A boater heads into Utah Lake from Lincoln Beach in 2021. Toxic algal blooms can sometimes form on the lake with the Utah County Health Department issuing health advisories for recreators being advised not to swim, waterski, boat or let their pets near the water.

One dog belonging to a family from Springville died after walking along the shoreline on Sandy Beach at Utah Lake on Saturday, emphasizing the hazard posed by toxic algae in the water.

The entirety of Utah Lake has been under a warning advisory for harmful algal blooms, or HABS, since Aug. 15 after a health watch was issued for the lake on Aug. 10. This summer, there have been various warning advisories for different parts of Utah Lake, but it now applies to all areas of the water.

This is the first dog to die this summer with the suspicion that the HABS in Utah Lake were the cause. But Ashley Sumner, director of communications for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, said the investigation on the cause of the dog’s death is still ongoing. No other animals or humans have been reportedly infected by the algae.

The Utah County Health Department said signs were posted in 2019 around common access points of the lake that educate recreationists about HABS. The signs are updated to add a warning or danger sign depending on the current safety of the water and condition of the HABS. In addition to the signs, Sumner said the DEQ recommends checking the water quality on its website before recreating in any body of water.

The current warning advisory for Utah Lake advises recreators, “Do not swim or water ski, avoid areas of algae when boating, clean fish well and discard guts, keep animals away, don’t drink the water and know how to recognize a harmful algal bloom.” More tips are available on the DEQ website.

Read more at heraldextra.com.

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aim to inform readers across the state.