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May 22, 2020: Indiana Reservoir and Lake Sampling Update

May 22, 2020

Sampling began May 18 for the 2020 recreation season to prepare for DNR’s opening of the swimming beaches on Memorial Day weekend, and will end the week of August 31st in advance of Labor Day weekend. 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), anatoxin-a, and saxitoxin. 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), United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) guidelines. WHO guidelines recommend using an action level of 100,000 cells/ml of cyanobacteria to post recreational advisory signs. 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. The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division has set an action level for saxitoxin. A warning to dog owners using the Fort Harrison State Park Dog Park Lake will occur whenever any cyanotoxins are detected, and the lake will be closed to dogs if levels in the table below are met.

Exact cell counts, species composition, and toxin levels can be found in the Test Results section of the web site. Swimming areas will stay on the Recreation Advisory Alert until the cell counts fall below 100,000.

Exposure Thresholds
Exposure Reference Values ug/l Microcystin Cylindrospermopsin Anatoxin-a Saxitoxin
Human Recreation Advisory 8.0 15.0 80.0 8.0
Human Recreation Prohibited 20.0 20.0 300 3.0
Dog Recreation Prohibited 0.8 1.0 Any detection Any detection

IDEM Sampling Results - Recreation Closed Alert Level

Algae and toxin levels make beach currently unsafe for swimming.

  • None

IDEM Sampling Results - Recreation Caution Alert Level

Swimming and boating permitted. Children and those with compromised immune systems should not swim. Avoid contact with algae. Avoid swallowing water while swimming. Take a bath or shower with warm soapy water after coming in contact with lake water. Do not use lake water for cooking or bathing. Although our test results are specifically for the beach where pets are not permitted to swim, please keep pets out of the water along shallow banks and the shoreline.

  • None

IDEM Sampling Results - Recreation Advisory Alert Level

Swimming and boating permitted. Avoid contact with algae. Avoid swallowing water while swimming. Take a bath or shower with warm soapy water after coming in contact with lake water. Do not use lake water for cooking or bathing. Do not allow your pets to swim or drink water where algae are present.

  • Cecil M Harden Lake - Raccoon Lake SRA
  • Cagles Mill Lake – Cagles Mill SP

IDEM Sampling Results – Low Risk Alert Level

Don't drink the water, shower after you swim.

  • Worster Lake - Potato Creek SP
  • Mississinewa Lake - Miami SRA
  • Kunkel Lake – Ouabache SP
  • Lake James - Pokagon SP
  • Lake James - Pokagon SP Inn
  • Sand Lake - Chain O'Lakes SP
  • Salamonie – Lost Bridge West SRA
  • Monroe Lake - Paynetown SRA
  • Brookville Lake - Quakertown SRA
  • Brookville Lake - Mounds SRA
  • Hardy Lake - Hardy Lake SRA
  • Deam Lake - Deam Lake SRA
  • Whitewater Lake - Whitewater Memorial SP
  • Summit Lake SP

IDEM Sampling Schedule

May 18-19: First week of sampling

  • Worster Lake - Potato Creek SP
  • Mississinewa Lake - Miami SRA
  • Kunkel Lake – Ouabache SP
  • Lake James - Pokagon SP
  • Lake James - Pokagon SP Inn
  • Sand Lake - Chain O'Lakes SP
  • Salamonie Lake - Lost Bridge West SRA•Monroe Lake - Fairfax SRA
  • Monroe Lake - Paynetown SRA
  • Brookville Lake - Quakertown SRA
  • Brookville Lake - Mounds SRA
  • Hardy Lake - Hardy Lake SRA
  • Cecil M Harden Lake - Raccoon Lake SRA
  • Cagles Mill SP
  • Deam Lake - Deam Lake SRA
  • Whitewater Lake - Whitewater Memorial SP
  • Summit Lake SP

June 1

  • Cecil M Harden Lake - Raccoon Lake SRA
  • Cagles Mill 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 from the Indiana Board of Animal Health and the Indiana State Department of Health.

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