Recreational Advisory Issued: High Blue-Green Algae Cell Count For Area Lake

INDIANAPOLIS – July 20, 2017 – Indiana Department of Environmental Management

IDEM began blue-green algae sampling the week of May 15 and will end the week of August 28. 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, cyanobacteria will be compared to the World Health Organization (WHO) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines. WHO guidelines recommend using an action level of 100,000 cells/ml of cyanobacteria to post recreational advisory signs. New USEPA guidelines for microcystins recommend posting recreational advisories at 4 μg/l and DNR will issue an additional advisory at 4μg/l. Swimming will be prohibited at 20 μg/l, consistent with WHO guidelines. DNR will use the USEPA recommended cylindrospermopsin level of 8 μg/l. As USEPA and WHO have not set levels for anatoxin-a, an anatoxin-a level of 80 μg/l will be used as an additional advisory threshold, based on the State of Ohio’s recommended thresholds. For cyanotoxin exposure for dogs, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has developed action levels for microcystin, anatoxin-a and cylindrospermopsin. A warning to dog owners using the Fort Harrison State Park Dog Park Lake will occur whenever any cyanotoxins are detected, and dogs will be prohibited from swimming at the values of 0.8 μg/l microcystin, any anatoxin-a detection, and 1.0 μg/l of cylindrospermopsin. 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.

IDEM Sampling Results – High Cell Count Recreation Advisory:

Mississinewa Lake – Miami SRA
Salamonie Lake – Lost Bridge West SRA
Sand Lake – Chain O’Lakes State Park
Hardy Lake – Hardy Lake State Recreation Area
Worster Lake – Potato Creek State Park
Whitewater Lake – Whitewater Memorial State Park
Brookville Lake – Quakertown State Recreation Area
Brookville Lake – Mounds State Recreation Area
Cecil M. Harden Lake – Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area

IDEM Sampling Schedule:

July 10, 2017
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 11, 2017
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 17, 2017
Lake James – Pokagon State Park
Lake James – Pokagon State Park Inn
Salamonie Lake – Lost Bridge West SRA
Sand Lake – Chain O’Lakes State Park

July 18, 2017
Potato Creek State Park – Worster Lake
Mississinewa Lake – Miami State Recreation Area

July 24, 2017
Hardy Lake – Hardy Lake SRA

July 25, 2017
Cecil M Harden Lake – Raccoon Lake SRA
Brookville Lake – Mounds SRA
Brookville Lake – Quakertown SRA
Whitewater Lake – Whitewater Memorial SP

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.

More information is available on the Indiana Board of Animal Health website.