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National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA News Release
For Immediate Release: March 26, 2015
Release No.: 2015-12
SWIMMING ADVISORY CONTINUES AT LAKES MEAD, MOHAVE
BOULDER CITY, Nevada – Conditions at Lake Mead have improved dramatically, but National Park Service officials continue to advise visitors to be on the lookout for algae and avoid swimming in areas where it is visible in Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.
Over the past couple of weeks, blue-green algae have been observed on both lakes, and some water samples analyzed by the National Park Service and Southern Nevada Water Authority tested positive for microcystin concentrations.
As of March 26, the amount of algae on Lake Mead is minimal. No algae were seen at Boulder Beach, Sandy Cove or Castle Cove, and tests taken at Boulder Beach came back negative for microcystins.
Mats of algae are still present in Lake Mohave, and there may be isolated pockets of algae in coves on either lake. As a precaution, recreational visitors should follow a few safety tips where algae are present:
- Ensure animals do not drink or go into the water;
- avoid swimming, waterskiing or jetskiing in the area;
- do not touch residue on the shoreline;
- do not fill water tanks with water in the area;
- if contact occurs, rinse thoroughly with clean water;
- and as always, don’t drink untreated water straight from the lake.
Health issues related to microcystin may range from rashes and skin irritations to gastrointestinal illness.
According to the SNWA, microcystin does not pose a threat to Southern Nevada’s drinking water. The SNWA’s water treatment plants utilize both ozone and chlorine, which represent the two most effective treatment processes for destroying microcystin and will prevent it from entering the drinking water system.
While the likelihood of people being affected by contact with blue-green algae is very low, federal, state, and local agencies in Southern Nevada continue to proactively monitor algae composition levels in both lakes.
Most areas of the lakes do not have accumulations of algae. Visitors and their pets can continue to enjoy the water where algae are not present.