Officials still urging residents to stay away from the Salton Sea

Salton Sea Update

El Centro, Calif... - Imperial County officials are still warning residents to not go near the Salton Sea after dangerous bacteria was found there.

The Imperial County Public Health Department announced last week that cyanobacteria were detected in a water test that was conducted earlier this month. 

Public health officials said residents are not in danger as long as they don't drink the water. "So there's not any evidence that anyone has been harmed. The levels that had been detected, although they alert us to pay attention, they are not levels that are expected to be harmful," said Dr. Stephen Munday, Imperial County Public Health Officer.

Munday said cyanobacteria are common in large bodies of water.

"This is going to happen to a certain extent no matter what we do because this is a natural occurrence. This is in every body of water. Just in a lesser or greater amount," added Munday. 

While the state currently monitors the Salton Sea, one district supervisor wants the county to have more involvement over the situation.

Imperial County District Supervisor Ryan Kelley said, "We have to be able to monitor the situation because of this resource. The Salton Sea is a large part of our community. A large part of our land mass. We need to be able to know what's happening there. And beyond that as well what's in the water that's feeding in that."

Local and state agencies plan on meeting Wednesday to chart a plan of action. Jeff Geracy, California Regional Water Control Board Senior Environmental Scientist Specialist, said, "Our regional board and various agencies are going to come together to continue to improve and develop our communication when it comes to water quality monitoring in the Salton Sea."

Signage has been posted in strategic areas where residents might enter the Salton Sea.

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