Water officials warn California residents of harmul algae bloom season

Posted at 5:07 PM, May 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-26 20:07:40-04

(KGTV) - State water officials are warning residents to be aware that harmful algae bloom season has arrived.

The State Water Resources Control Board said in a Friday release that increased water temperatures, slow moving water, and excessive nutrients or organic matter can cause cyanobacteria and some algae to multiply and form harmful algae blooms, or HABs.

Exposure to HABs can cause eye irritation, skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold- or flu-like symptoms. Pets who are exposed may experience vomiting and/or diarrhea, lethargy, abnormal liver function, difficulty breathing, foaming at the mouth, and muscle twitching. It may also be fatal to pets in some cases.

Officials advise keeping pets and children away from HABs if seen, however not all HABs appear on the water's surface.

To prevent HABs, the state recommends:

  • Using water, fertilizers, and pesticides conservatively on your lawns and gardens
  • Avoid nutrient runoff by recycling any “spent” soil back into gardens, or protect it from rainfall
  • Create shade and filter out nutrients by planting or maintaining native plants around river banks
  • Inspect and pump out septic systems every three to four years
  • Prevent surface water runoff from agricultural and livestock areas
  • Prevent erosion around construction and logging operations

The state also recommends using the BloomWatch app, to help keep track of where HABs are cropping up and alerting local agencies of the hazard.