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Algae bloom prompts 'no swimming' alert at Lake Elsinore

City News Service

An algae bloom in Lake Elsinore prompted the city and state to suspend all recreational activity until further notice to minimize exposure to the green slime Friday, Aug. 19.

According to the California Water Resources Control Board, the bloom appeared last week and poses a potential health threat to people and pets.

"No swimming" signs have been posted around the water, with additional warnings not to let dogs drink from the lake or eat scum washing up on shore, officials said.

The closure includes boating and fishing.

"Do not eat fish or shellfish from the water,"' the WRCB said. "Boiling or filtering will not make the water safe."

According to a press release issued by the WRCB, dogs and children are most susceptible to exposure because of their smaller body size, increased potential to swallow water while swimming, and tendency to stay in the water longer.

"If you suspect exposure, wash your children and dog immediately," the WRCB said

Blooms have appeared in the lake in previous years, and according to officials, the current one is suspended at the surface.

"Cyanobacteria, a group of organisms that form harmful algae blooms, can produce potent toxins," according to a Water Resources Control Board statement. "Health risks include skin inflammation, gastrointestinal distress, headaches, agitation and weakness or abnormal breathing if ... material is swallowed while swimming."

Algae growth is attributed to higher volumes of nutrients in the water, combined with elevated temperatures, lots of sunshine and little to no wind.

"Bloom conditions can change rapidly, as the winds and waves move or concentrate the bloom into different regions of the lake," the WRCB said. "In some areas, the bloom may concentrate and form a film or scum on the water surface. The color of the water may also appear discolored as bright or dark green and brown."

Officials could not say when conditions might change on the lake.

There have been no reports of medical emergencies connected with exposure to the green slime.

Additional information is available at


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