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Addressing Concerns About Blue-Green Algae

July 27, 2012: Indiana Reservoir and Lake Update July 27, 2012: 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 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.

Livestock, pets and wild animals can be poisoned by the toxins produced by some algal blooms. Small animals can ingest a toxic dose quickly. Dogs are particularly susceptible to blue-green algae poisoning because the scum can attach to their coats and be swallowed during self-cleaning. Clinical signs of blue green algae poisoning in animals include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, weakness, seizures and sudden death, especially in livestock. If you see a blue-green algae bloom in the water or where you visit, do not allow pets or livestock swim in or drink from areas where blooms are seen. If pets swim in scummy water, rinse them off with soap and water immediately to remove the toxin. Do not let them lick the algae off their fur. Direct livestock to water sources away from algal infected waters. If your animal shows any of the clinical signs listed above, contact your veterinarian immediately.

For protection of human health from cyanobacteria, the World Health Organization (WHO) 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. Indiana uses 6 ppb of microcystin toxin as a warning level. The WHO has not set a guideline value for the cylindrospermopsin toxin. Indiana will use 5 ppb as a warning level, consistent with the state of Ohio recommendation. Toxin results will be posted if they meet those threshold numbers. Exact cell counts and toxin levels can be found in the Test Results section of the web site. Swimming areas will stay on the High Count Alert until the cell counts fall below 100,000.

IDEM began cyanobacteria sampling the week of June 18th. The designated 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:

  • Chain O’Lakes State Park - Sand Lake
  • Fairfax State Recreation Area on Monroe Lake
  • Hardin Ridge U.S. Forest Service Recreation Area on Monroe Lake
  • Hardy Lake State Recreation Area
  • Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area on Salamonie Lake
  • Miami State Recreation Area on Mississinewa Lake
  • Mounds State Recreation Area on Brookville Lake
  • Paynetown State Recreation Area on Monroe Lake
  • Pokagon State Park - Lake James
  • Potato Creek State Park - Worster Lake
  • Quakertown State Recreation Area on Brookville Lake
  • Raccoon State Recreation Area on Cecil M. Hardin Lake (Raccoon Lake)
  • Whitewater Memorial State Park - Whitewater Lake
IDEM Sampling Results

The following locations were sampled July 23rd and 24th:

  • Chain O’Lakes State Park - Sand Lake and Long Lake
  • Pokagon State Park - Lake James
  • Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area on Salamonie Lake
  • Miami State Recreation Area on Mississinewa Lake
  • Potato Creek State Park - Worster Lake

The following beaches were sampled July 16th and 17th:

  • Raccoon Lake (Cecil M. Hardin) at Walker Boat Ramp
  • Fairfax State Recreation Area on Monroe Lake
  • Paynetown State Recreation Area on Monroe Lake
  • Hardin Ridge U.S. Forest Service Recreation Area on Monroe Lake
  • Hardy Lake State Recreation Area
  • Mounds State Recreation Area on Brookville Lake
  • Quakertown State Recreation Area on Brookville Lake
  • Whitewater Memorial State Park - Whitewater Lake

The following beaches were sampled July 9th:

  • Chain O’Lakes State Park - Sand Lake
  • Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area on Salamonie Lake -- Sample taken from boat ramp area
  • Potato Creek State Park - Worster Lake

The following beaches were sampled July 2nd:

  • Raccoon Lake (Cecil M. Hardin) around the island near offshore of the beach
  • Mounds State Recreation Area on Brookville Lake
  • Quakertown State Recreation Area on Brookville Lake
High Count Alerts:

Due to high Blue-Green algae counts at the areas listed below, users should avoid ingesting water, avoid contact with surface scums and shower with soapy water after swimming. Also, if you should experience any symptoms after swimming, please contact your doctor.

  • Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area on Salamonie Lake
  • Miami State Recreation Area on Mississinewa Lake
  • Potato Creek State Park - Worster Lake
  • Raccoon Lake (Cecil M. Hardin) at Walker Boat Ramp
  • Hardy Lake at Hardy Lake State Recreation Area
  • Mounds State Recreation Area on Brookville Lake
  • Quakertown State Recreation Area on Brookville Lake
  • Whitewater Memorial State Park - Whitewater Lake
Citizens Water Reservoir Update

The data collected at the drinking water reservoirs is collected to inform Citizens Water of the quality of the raw water for drinking water treatment purposes. These counts can be applied to recreational purposes as noted below.

High Count Alert for Recreation:

July 23, 2012:

  • Eagle Creek Reservoir
  • Morse Reservoir

July 16, 2012:

  • Eagle Creek Reservoir
  • Morse Reservoir

July 9, 2012:

  • Eagle Creek Reservoir
  • Morse Reservoir

July 2, 2012:

  • Eagle Creek Reservoir
  • Geist Reservoir
  • Morse Reservoir

June 25, 2012:

  • Eagle Creek Reservoir

June 18, 2012:

  • Eagle Creek Reservoir
  • Geist Reservoir