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Addressing Concerns About Blue-Green Algae

Blue-Green Algae > Newsroom > Newsroom Archive > September 2, 2011: Indiana Reservoir and Lake Update September 2, 2011: Indiana Reservoir and Lake Update

This is the last recreational season posting of sampling results. The sampling program will commence again in 2012.

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) began cyanobacteria sampling the week of June 20th. The swimming beaches at the following DNR and U.S. Forest Service managed areas will be sampled monthly, unless cell counts exceed 100,000 cells per milliliter (cells/ml), at which point the swimming beaches in exceedance will be resampled on a biweekly basis until the counts fall below 100,000 cells/ml:

  • 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.

IDEM Sampling Results

The swimming beaches at the following locations had cyanobacterial cell counts above 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels below 6ppb:

  • Hardy Lake State Reservoir sampled 08/31/2011
  • Potato Creek State Park sampled 08/30/2011
  • Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area at Salamonie Reservoir sampled 08/30/2011
  • Chain O’Lakes State Park (Long Lake only) sampled 08/22/2011
  • Fairfax State Recreation Area on Monroe Reservoir sampled 08/29/2011
  • Hardin Ridge U.S. Forest Service Recreation Area on Monroe Reservoir sampled 08/29/2011
  • Paynetown State Recreation Area on Monroe Reservoir sampled 08/29/2011
  • Raccoon State Recreation Area at Cecil M. Hardin Reservoir (Raccoon Lake) sampled 08/29/2011

The swimming beaches at the following locations had cyanobacterial cell counts below 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels below 6ppb:

  • Chain O’Lakes State Park - Sand Lake sampled 08/22/2011
  • Pokagon State Park sampled 08/22/2011
  • Miami State Recreation Area at Mississinewa Reservoir sampled 08/23/2011
  • Whitewater Memorial State Park (Whitewater Lake) sampled 08/15/2011
  • Summit Lake State Park sampled 08/15/2011

The Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES) at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) Sampling Results

The following locations had cyanobacterial cell counts above 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels below 6ppb:

  • Geist Reservoir sampled 08/29/2011 (sampled by CEES from the Town of Fishers)
  • Morse Reservoir sampled 08/29/2011
  • Eagle Creek Reservoir sampled 08/29/2011
  • Patoka Reservoir sampled 08/23/2011

The following locations had cyanobacterial cell counts below 100,000 cells/ml and microcystin levels below 6ppb:

  • None this period.

Indiana Clean Lakes Program

Each summer, the Indiana Clean Lakes Program (CLP) staff at Indiana University’s School for Public and Environmental Affairs (IU SPEA) conducts comprehensive assessments of between 70 and 80 randomly selected Indiana lakes. These lakes are sampled once during the summer season. Beginning in 2010, targeted cyanobacteria testing was added to the CLP protocol. Upon return to the SPEA laboratory, cyanobacteria are identified and counted, and the samples analyzed for the microcystin toxin. This project is designed to help determine the environmental variables (water temperature, nutrient concentration, plankton density, chlorophyll concentration, etc.) associated with high microcystin toxin concentrations. The development of relationships between environmental variables and microcystin toxin levels will be critical for effective lake management and minimization of human health risks associated with the toxin.

The results of the CLP sampling can be found in the Test Results section. For more information about the CLP, please contact Melissa Clark (mlaney@indiana.edu).

Kosciusko County Lake Sampling Result

Grace College samples 44 lakes in Kosciusko County monthly. 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 toxin levels in samples are greater than 6ppb or cyanobacteria cell counts exceed 100,000 cells/ml. 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.

  • All lakes sampled between 08/15/2011 to 08/18/2011 were below 6ppb.