What you need to know about HABs

As of July 3, 2019, both Calder and Matt Warner Reservoirs have yellow warnings for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Yellow warnings consist of swimming restriction and caution while boating. Fishing is still considered safe during yellow warnings. Warning signs were posted by TriCounty Health Department (TCHD) at Matt Warner Reservoir prior to the holiday to ensure the safety of the public during peak recreation days. 

When you see a yellow sign posted at a body of water please use caution when boating and do not swim.

TCHD urges the public to be aware of signs posted regarding swimming and recreational safety. Reservoirs and lakes in the Uintah Basin are continually monitored by environmental health scientists for indications of HABs. The public will be informed as soon as warnings change by elevation to danger or safety for swimming and wading.  “The signs are an important indication of water safety levels. Watch for signs at lakes and pay attention

If the signs are red, avoid all contact with specified bodies of water

If the signs are red, avoid all contact with specified bodies of water

to signage color. If the signs are red, avoid all contact with specified bodies of water.” TCHD Environmental Health Director, Darrin Brown, said.  

HABs occur when normally occurring cyanobacteria in the water multiply quickly to form visible colonies or blooms. Cyanobacteria, more commonly known as blue-green algae, impairs the quality of water bodies. Up to 50 percent of the recorded blooms can be expected to contain toxins and have severe effects on health. 

If you think you or your pet has been exposed to HABs call the Utah Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222. Symptoms of human exposure can include rashes or blisters from skin contact, runny nose, sore throat, asthma, weakness, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms of animal exposure are weakness, staggering, difficulty breathing and confusion. 

Follow TriCounty Health Department on Facebook and check our website tricountyhealth.com for updates on where in the Uintah Basin HABs are located. If you see abnormal, fluorescent-like algae present on a body of water and around the shoreline, please call TCHD at 435-247-1160.