Advisory issued after algae bloom detected at Lake Perris

State officials issued a caution advisory after algal bloom was found at Lake Perris in Riverside County.

When algal bloom is detected in the waters, it is best for people and their pets to avoid contact with the algae. Algal bloom becomes harmful when it produces toxins.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, if blue-green algae becomes a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB), water activities will be impacted due to public safety concerns. 

Blue-green algae is a natural part of the ecosystem and can bloom or grow rapidly when water temperature is warm. 

Swimmers and boaters are urged to take caution and stay away from algae. Their toxins are harmful and can make people and animals sick, the DWR stated. 

The department listed the following precautions and information. 

What are signs of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)?

  • Small blue-green, green, white, or brown particles in the water
  • Streaks in the water that look like spilled paint
  • Mats, scum, or foam at the surface or along the shoreline
  • Can have an odor described as gasoline, septic, or fishy

What are the Dangers?

  • Some algal blooms can produce toxins that are harmful to people and pets
  • Dogs and small children are most likely to be affected by HABs due to their smaller body size and probability to play in the water for longer periods
  • Animals can be especially susceptible to the toxins because they tend to drink while in the water and lick their fur afterwards
  • Exposure to toxic cyanobacteria can cause eye, nose, mouth or throat irritation, headache, allergic skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold- and flu-like symptoms

How can I be exposed to algal toxins?

  • People can be exposed to the toxins during swimming or other water contact activities and when they accidentally swallow lake water
  • During waterskiing and jetskiing, the toxins can become airborne in the water spray and be inhaled
  • People can also be exposed to toxins by eating shellfish and fish from affected waterbodies
  • Dogs or other animals can become ill if they eat scum or mats in the water or on the shore, drink the water, or lick their fur after going into the water

What precautions should I take if I see a potential HAB?

  • Follow all posted advisories
  • Stay away from algae and scum in the water and on shore
  • Watch children and pets closely
  • Do not let pets and other animals go into the water, drink the water, or eat scum and algal accumulations on the shore
  • Do not drink the water or use it for cooking
  • Wash yourself, your family, and your pets with clean water after water play
  • If you catch fish, throw away guts and clean fillets with tap water or bottled water before cooking
  • Avoid eating shellfish from affected areas
  • Current Reservoir Status