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Addressing Concerns About Blue-Green Algae

June 24, 2011: Indiana Reservoir and Lake Update June 24, 2011: Indiana Reservoir and Lake Update

The Indiana State Department of Health cautions Hoosiers of possible high levels of blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, at many of Indiana's reservoirs and lakes. Swimmers and boaters should be careful in all recreational waters during this time of the year. Precautionary measures include avoiding contact with visible algae and swallowing water while swimming. Take a bath or shower with warm, soapy water after coming in contact with untreated water in ponds and lakes, especially before preparing or consuming food. Pets and livestock should also not be allowed to swim in or drink untreated water from these sources. Exposure to a blue-green algae during recreational activities such as swimming, wading, and water-skiing may lead to rashes, skin, eye irritation, and other uncomfortable effects such as nausea, stomach aches, and tingling in fingers and toes. If you should experience any symptoms after water recreational activities, please contact your doctor.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) will begin cyanobacteria sampling the weeks of June 20th and 27th. The swimming beaches at the following DNR and U.S. Forest Service managed areas will be sampled monthly, unless cell counts exceed 100,000, at which point the swimming beaches in exceedance will be resampled on a biweekly basis until the counts fall below 100,000:

  • Potato Creek State Park
  • Pokagon State Park
  • Chain O’Lakes State Park
  • Miami State Recreation Area at Mississinewa Reservoir
  • Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area at Salamonie Reservoir
  • Raccoon State Recreation Area at Cecil M. Hardin Reservoir (Raccoon Lake)
  • Paynetown State Recreation Area on Monroe Reservoir
  • Fairfax State Recreation Area on Monroe Reservoir
  • Hardin Ridge U.S. Forest Service Recreation Area on Monroe Reservoir
  • Hardy Lake State Recreation Area 
  • Whitewater Memorial State Park (Whitewater Lake)
  • Summit Lake State Park

For protection of human health from cyanobacteria, the World Health Organization uses a guideline level of greater than 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin toxin levels of 20 parts per billion (ppb) for a high risk health alert in recreational waters. In Indiana, IDEM uses 6 ppb of microcystin toxin as a warning level. Exact cell counts and microcystin levels can be found in the Test Results section of the web site. For more information on Blue-Green algae, please contact the Indiana Blue-Green Algae Information Line at (877) 650-0033 (Toll Free) or (317) 233-7181.

The IDEM sampling results:

  • Paynetown State Recreation Area on Monroe Reservoir: Cyanobacterial cell counts were below 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels were below 6ppb on 6/21/11
  • Fairfax State Recreation Area on Monroe Reservoir: Cyanobacterial cell counts were below 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels were below 6ppb on 6/21/11
  • Hardin Ridge U.S. Forest Service Recreation Area on Monroe Reservoir: Cyanobacterial cell counts were below 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels were below 6ppb on 6/21/11
  • Raccoon State Recreation Area at Cecil M. Hardin Reservoir (Raccoon Lake): Cyanobacterial cell counts were below 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels were below 6ppb on 6/21/11
  • Hardy Lake State Recreation Area: Cyanobacterial cell counts were below 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels were below 6ppb on 6/20/11
  • Whitewater Memorial State Park (Whitewater Lake): Cyanobacterial cell counts were below 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels were below 6ppb on 6/20/11
  • Summit Lake State Park: Cyanobacterial cell counts were below 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels were below 6ppb on 6/22/11

The Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES) at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) sampling results:

  • Eagle Creek Reservoir: Total cyanobacterial cell counts were below 100,000 cells/ml on 6/20/11
  • Geist Reservoir: Total cyanobacterial cell counts were below 100,000 cells/ml on 6/20/11
  • Morse Reservoir: Total cyanobacterial cell counts were below 100,000 cells/ml on 6/20/11

Grace College samples 44 lakes in Kosciusko County. These samples are analyzed by CEES for the microcystin toxin and some lakes for cyanobacteria cell counts. Because of the large number of lakes, lakes will only be listed if samples are greater than 6ppb or 100,000 cell counts. For a complete listing of lakes, please see Test Results. For more information about the Kosciusko County lakes, please contact Bruce Hammer, Environmental Scientist with the Kosciusko County Health Department at 574-372-2349.

Kosciusko County Lake Sampling Results:

  • Dewert Lake: Microcystin toxin levels were above 6ppb on 6/16/11