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No swimming in San Luis Reservoir, and other dire warnings after latest toxicity test

Signage on barricades near the waterline warn visitors at San Luis Reservoir in August. San Luis Reservoir is undergoing a huge algae bloom as the lake dips to its lowest levels in 25 years.
Signage on barricades near the waterline warn visitors at San Luis Reservoir in August. San Luis Reservoir is undergoing a huge algae bloom as the lake dips to its lowest levels in 25 years. Sacramento Bee file

A cautionary notice on the water toxicity in San Luis Reservoir has become more severe, the California Department of Water Resources reported Tuesday.

Recent testing of the cyanobacteria (blue-green) algal bloom that has been present in the reservoir since July has revealed an increase in the toxin level, and the advisory level was upgraded to “Warning” – up from the “Caution” level that had been in effect, the department said.

Based on testing results, precautions from the Voluntary Statewide Guidance for Blue-Green Algae Blooms are in effect:

• No swimming is allowed in San Luis Reservoir.

• Stay away from scum and cloudy or discolored water.

• Keep children away from algae in the water or on the shore.

• Do not drink lake water or use it for cooking.

• Do not let pets go into or drink the water or go near the scum.

• For fish caught in the reservoir, throw away guts and clean fillets with tap water or bottled water before cooking.

• Do not eat shellfish from the reservoir.

People can be exposed to the toxins when they accidentally ingest water while swimming or waterskiing, the department said. The toxins also can contact the skin during swimming or be inhaled.

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