Sloan’s Lake closed because of increase in potentially deadly algae

Sloan’s Lake is closed to visitors because of an increase in blue-green algae bloom, city officials said Thursday.

The park area remains open, but an increase in the potentially deadly algae led to the ban on contact with any lake water. This is the first time Denver Parks and Recreation staff can recall closing a lake in Denver for this reason, spokesperson Cyndi Karvaski said.

The blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, was first discovered in the lake earlier this month, and public health officials asked visitors to avoid contact with the water, posting warning signs around the lake. Now, they’ve replaced them with closure signs because of a rise in toxin levels.

Although this happens every year, Karvaski said the sustained heat has caused higher than normal levels, leading the algae to bloom and grow. Usually, the algae stops growing at 77 degrees.

“We just want to encourage people to avoid the water right now,” she said.

People and pets at the park are asked not to get in or near the water, and activities like fishing, wading, boating, canoeing, paddleboarding and kayaking are prohibited. Ingesting the algae can poison pets, livestock, wildlife, birds, fish and humans. It’s so poisonous that pets can die within hours of drinking the water, and humans can get sick and get headaches, diarrhea, weakness and liver damage.

The lake is expected reopen when the algae bloom and cyanotoxin levels dissipate.

The city is still using water from the lake to irrigate the surrounding park because testing has not shown the toxin in the water used for irrigation, Karvaski said. The water is taken from a lower part of the lake, which is cooler, while the algae bloom is on top in a more heated area. However, parks employees continue to test the water before using it, she added.

If you or a pet get exposed to the water, you should seek medical attention.

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