Lake users are advised to stay out of the water and to not engage in any recreation activities when toxin levels are at a “Danger” advisory level.
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During periods of “Danger” advisory levels, testing occurs on a weekly basis. When toxins are at lower levels testing occurs on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.
The City contracts with WSP Environment & Infrastructure for sampling. WSP prepares, packages, and overnights the samples to Greenwater Labs in Florida. Test results are usually received within 3-5 business days of the collection date. Testing is primarily for microcystin, the most common type of cyanotoxin in Lake Elsinore. Other toxins might be assessed depending on current lake conditions.
Lake users are advised to not contact the water at the “Danger” or “Warning” advisory levels. Swimming is allowed at the “Caution” level but water should not be ingested.
Fish caught in the lake should not be eaten when a “Danger” advisory is present. During a “Warning” or “Caution” advisory fish should be cleaned and guts thrown away and fillets should be cleaned with tap water or bottled water before cooking.
Pets should not go into or drink the water any time an advisory of any level is posted.
The City, partner agencies, and lake scientists are continually looking at methods and researching treatment options. In a recent study, four treatments were tested and analyzed in enclosed study areas near the Launch Pointe public beach. A final report of that study, which included chemical and microbial strategies, will be released by mid-2023. The City has also applied for a grant and federal funding to conduct a pilot study that utilizes a technology to physically remove algae from the lake with a harvesting system. Award notices for that funding should be released in July 2023.
The Lake Elsinore Aeration and Mixing System (LEAMS) is operational. However, the consensus amongst the scientific community is that the system is nearing the end of its useful life and that the system has a minimal effect on reducing toxic algae blooms. The City and Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District are continually monitoring the system and are currently exploring options for upgrading, repurposing, or replacing the system.
These treatments have been considered and researched and could possibly be part of the mix of treatments. However, it is generally agreed upon that there isn’t one treatment that will serve as a “silver bullet” to eliminate toxic algae blooms in Lake Elsinore due to the size and complexities of the lake. These treatments are considered as short-term solutions and would need to be applied regularly at a high volume and cost due to the size of the lake (3,000 acres).