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Addressing Concerns About Blue-Green Algae

July 18, 2014: Indiana Reservoir and Lake Update July 18, 2014: Indiana Reservoir and Lake Update

IDEM began blue-green algae sampling the week of May 12th and will end the week of August 29th. IDEM samples for blue-green algae and analyzes those samples for the type and quantity of blue-green algae present and for the following toxins which may be produced by certain types of blue-green algae: microcystin, cylindrospermopsin (only done if species that produce it are present) and anatoxin-a. For protection of human health from exposure to the algae and any of the toxins, Indiana will use the World Health Organization (WHO) guideline level of 100,000 cells/ml or a microcystin toxin level of 6 parts per billion (ppb) for a Recreation Advisory. Beaches will be closed if microcystin toxin reaches 20 ppb. The WHO has not set guideline values for cylindrospermopsin or anatoxin-a. Indiana will use 5 ppb of cylindrospermopsin and 80 ppb of anatoxin-a for a Recreation Advisory, consistent with the state of Ohio recommendations. 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 Cell Count Alert until the cell counts fall below 100,000.

The following swimming beaches will be sampled monthly unless cell counts are at 100,000 or greater, at which point sampling will be done biweekly until counts fall below 100,000.

IDEM Sampling Results - High Cell Count Recreation Alert

  • Brookville Lake - Mounds State Recreation Area
  • Brookville Lake - Quakertown State Recreation Area
  • Chain O’Lakes State Park - Sand Lake
  • Potato Creek State Park - Worster Lake
  • Salamonie Lake - Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area

IDEM Sampling Schedule

July 7th, 2014

  • Monroe Lake - Fairfax State Recreation Area
  • Monroe Lake - Paynetown State Recreation Area
  • Starve-Hollow State Recreation Area
  • Deam Lake State Recreation Area
  • Hardy Lake State Recreation Area

July 8th, 2014

  • Cecil M. Harden Lake (Raccoon Lake) - Raccoon State Recreation Area 
  • Whitewater Lake at Whitewater Memorial State Park 
  • Brookville Lake - Mounds State Recreation Area 
  • Brookville Lake - Quakertown State Recreation Area

July 14th, 2014

  • Mississinewa Lake - Miami State Recreation Area
  • Potato Creek State Park - Worster Lake
  • Ferdinand State Forest - Ferdinand Lake (Sampled By DNR)
  • Lincoln State Park –Lake Lincoln (Sampled by DNR)

July 15th, 2014

  • Pokagon State Park - Lake James
  • Chain O’Lakes State Park - Sand Lake
  • Salamonie Lake - Lost Bridge West State Recreation Area

Citizens Water Reservoir Update

Citizens Water collects water samples for blue-green algae at Geist, Morse and Eagle Creek reservoirs on a weekly basis. The data collected at these lakes 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. Only the reservoirs with high cell counts will be reported.

High Cell Count Alert for Recreation

  • The reservoirs were sampled on June 30 and none of them have a high cell count recreation alert at this time.
  • There was no new cell count data for the week of July 14, 2014.

ISDH cautions Hoosiers of possible high levels of blue-green algae 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 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.