Sand Hollow to temporarily close, Swimmer’s Itch warning issued

HURRICANE – Sand Hollow State Park will be closed at the end of July for Algae treatment. A warning concerning ‘Swimmer’s Itch’ has also been issued.


No day-use access or camping will be available at Sand Hollow from 10 p.m. on July 29 through Aug. 2 at 6 a.m. The Washington County Water Conservancy District will be treating the reservoir for algae.

For safety reasons, water and park access will be restricted during treatment operations.

Though this is the first time the reservoir has been treated for algae, Laura Melling, manager for Quail Lake and Sand Hollow State Parks, said it was a fairly routine process.

“We do it for Quail every two to three years,” Melling said. The algae that the water district seeks to eliminate causes an unpleasant aroma in drinking water taken from Sand Hollow, she said, hence the water district’s actions.

People don’t like their water to smell,” Melling said with a laugh.

Treatment of the reservoir will include a helicopter dropping crystals into the water that will attack the algae. The process should only take up to 24 hours, Melling said. While the park could open a day early for this reason, she noted an extra day was added just in case additional treatment might be needed.

Swimmer’s Itch

Recently Sand Hollow State Park officials also issued a warning concerning a skin condition known as ‘Swimmer’s Itch,” that has returned to the reservoir. Melling said the parasitic larvae that cause the condition are in no way connected to the reservoirs closure.

Many Utah state parks are currently experiencing outbreaks of Swimmer’s Itch that tend to come with the summer months. The Itch itch itself is a body’s allergic reaction to a free-swimming microscopic parasite found in shallow water. It is found throughout the world and is more frequent during summer months.

Symptoms of Swimmers Itch includes: tingling, burning, or itching of the skin; small reddish pimples and small blisters.

These signs or symptoms may occur in as little as minutes after swimming in the water, or may take longer. The small reddish pimple will appear within twelve hours. These pimples can then turn into small blisters. Scratching the infected area can lead to secondary infections. The itching can last a week or more, but will generally go away in about three days.

The condition is not life-threatening or contagious, and irritation may be relieved with:

  • Corticosteroid cream
  • Cool compress to the affected area
  • Bathe in Epson salts or baking soda
  • Soak in colloidal oatmeal baths
  • Apply baking soda paste to the rash
  • Use an anti-itch lotion

Melling said that once the fall hits, the water district will be piping water from Sand Hollow to a project involving dike maintenance at Quail Lake. This will lower water levels at Sand Hollow, leading to exposure of pond weeds that house the parasites, subsequently killing them. She said that should take care of any future outbreaks of Swimmer’s Itch for a long time to come.

Additional information on the Swimmer’s Itch warning can be found of the Sand Hollow State Park website.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright 2012 St. George News

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  • Murat July 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    More blatant incompetence. Don’t the agencies running these resources have any people with some education in biology?

    • Jennifer July 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      So Murat what are wise thoughts?

    • Wi Zaas July 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Murat just likes to troll… ignore the trolls and don’t feed them.

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