Why is Pinto Lake Sick?

Dan Coyro/Sentinel Pinto Lake in Watsonville is experiencing another blue-green algae bloom, temporarily raising the water's toxicity.

Dan Coyro/Sentinel

Pinto Lake has been experiencing an increase in harmful blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) blooms due to years of fertilizer runoff and leaky septic systems. These nutrients feed this algae that release dangerous toxins into the water, making the lake unsafe.

In 2014, the City of Watsonville secured $750,000 in grant funding to treat the lake and address Amesti and CCC creeks that carry pollutants into Pinto Lake. The City is working with Santa Cruz County and the Resource Conservation District to restore the lake.

Alum treatment will begin in 2017 to trap the nutrients embedded in the bottom of the lake that are feeding the algae. Alum is a substance that will be applied to the water where it will remain at the bottom of the lake and provide additional treatment for nutrients. These treatments will not end the problem, but reduce it significantly. Ongoing monitoring will continue to measure changes over time. For more information, please contact Environmental Projects Manager, Jackie McCloud (831) 768-3172.

The City and County have posted signs to prohibit contact with the water to prevent any health risks. Currently a PhD student at the University of California Davis is conducting an independent research study to evaluate health risks to humans and their pets associated with exposure to Pinto Lake. For information about this study, contact the One Health Institute at UC Davis (530) 752-7526.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 at 2:35 pm and is filed under City Manager, City of Watsonville, Homepage News, Mayor, Public Works . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.