Toxic algae and bacteria are keeping swimmers out of the water at two popular spots to beat the summer heat in the East Bay.
Officials testing the waters at Shadow Cliffs Lake in Pleasanton found extremely high levels of E. coli. And, in Oakland, Lake Temescal is battling a bloom of algae that comes with some serious symptoms, including vomiting.
Blue-green algae blooms at Oakland’s Lake Temescal are not new, but high levels of potentially dangerous toxins in the water are. The Herrera family drove to Oakland all the way from Richmond for a beach day at Lake Temescal, only to find the beach shut down.
“It's really, really sad,” Rosa Herrera said.
“We usually have blue-green algae blooms for a few days to a week, and this one’s been going on for three weeks,” East Bay Regional Park District’s Hal MacLean said. “We don't know why this is happening. People can get stomach aches from it and skin rashes from it.”
Bacteria are also brewing at Shadow Cliffs Lake in Pleasanton, where the park district closed the south portion of the beach because of E. coli concerns. Friday, officials decided to close the tnire beach. Officials say drought conditions have pushed geese from the once green lawns to the beaches, where they have been defecating into low-level waters.
“I've been with the department for 14 years, and we've never closed two beaches at the same time,” MacLean said.
Beachgoers told NBC Bay Area it's disappointing, but most agreed the precautions are better than swimming in tainted water.
“We brought sandwiches and drinks”, lake goer Candice Gliatto said, “so we'll have a picnic and look at the water.”
Officials said the beaches at Shadow Cliffs Lake would remain closed through at least Saturday morning, pending further test results.
Lake Temescal will remain closed to swimmers until at least Monday.