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The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, in coordination with the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are working to provide information about blue-green algae in our waterways.
The effort formed due to concerns over blue-green algae in Indiana and a general lack of understanding regarding the threat they actually pose. Algae are commonly found in Indiana lakes and streams without concern, however the concentrated presence of blue-green algae can be linked to some health effects and has prompted this project. Factors promoting algal growth can include sunlight, warm weather, low turbulence, and nutrient sources, such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Often nutrient inputs come from nonpoint source pollution, but fortunately, there are many ways to reduce or stop nonpoint source pollution, many of which are simple things we can do right in our own backyards.
This website will be updated regularly to provide information about blue-green algae levels in central Indiana, as well as links to other websites such as the World Health Organization, the USGS Kansas Water Science Center, and assorted information available through other states.
This was the last week of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s 2012 cyanobacteria sampling season.
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:
The following locations were sampled August 27th and 28th:
The following locations were sampled August 20th and 21st:
The following locations were sampled August 13th and 14th:
The following locations were sampled August 6th and 7th:
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.
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 Count Alert for Recreation:
August 27, 2012
August 20, 2012
August 13, 2012
August 6, 2012
The Center for Earth and Environmental Science at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis samples the lake monthly at five sites.
August 14, 2012:
July 17, 2012: