Indiana Alerts to High Levels of Blue-Green Algae in Some Bodies of Water

IDEM cautions against contact with bodies of water containing high levels of blue-green algae that recently killed dogs

Following the deaths of three dogs in North Carolina Thursday, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management says seven lakes contain high levels of blue-green algae.

On Tuesday, the IDEM reported at least nine areas under a "high cell alert" for blue-green algae: 

  • Brookville Lake - Quakertown SRA
  • Brookville Lake - Mounds SRA
  • Cecil M Harden Lake - Raccoon Lake SRA
  • Hardy Lake - Hardy Lake SRA
  • Kunkel Lake – Ouabache SP
  • Monroe Lake - Fairfax SRA
  • Monroe Lake - Paynetown SRA
  • Whitewater Lake - Whitewater Memorial SP
  • Worster Lake - Potato Creek SP 
Swimmers and boaters were still being allowed in the waters, but were urged to avoid contact with algae and to avoid swallowing water while swimming. 
Officials also said anyone who goes in the water should take a bath or shower with warm soapy water after coming into contact with lake water. Pets should not be allowed to swaim or drink water where algae is present, the alert states.

Blue-green algae naturally occurs in lakes and streams and reproduces rapidly, according to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency website. This rapid algae growth is called “bloom.”  

The EPA website says most blue-green algal blooms are not harmful. However, if they produce toxins, they can have fatal reactions when swallowed, inhaled or coming into contact with skin. 

If exposed to toxic blue-green algae, symptoms are skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, throat irritation, allergic reactions or difficulty breathing. The algae could also fatally affect the liver and nervous system. 

The Illinois EPA website describes the blue-green algae to appear as blue or green paint spilled in water, with thick, puffy blue or green foam on the surface of the water, or swirling colors beneath the surface of the water. Occasionally, distinct odors can be detected. 

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