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Harmful Algae Blooms Putting Indiana Waterways At Risk

The hot, stagnant weather is leading to an increase in potentially harmful blue-green algae at many Indiana reservoirs and lakes

Blue green algae

Photo: Mark Sadowski (Flickr)

Blue-green algae blooms

Swimmers and boaters beware: the hot, stagnant weather is leading to an increase in potentially harmful blue-green algae at many Indiana reservoirs and lakes. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management samples several beaches each summer to determine if levels exceed health guidelines established by the World Health Organization. Currently, nine bodies of water carry a “high risk health alert,” including Geist, Morse and Patoka Reservoirs.

“Anytime you see algae on the surface of a body of water you want to be aware that it might be one of the harmful types that could cause problems, so taking steps like not disturbing the algae,” said Indiana Department of Environmental Management Spokeswoman Amber Finklestein. “If you do swim in a body of water with algae… go ahead and rinse off afterwards.”

Blue-green algae multiply quickly in water bodies with high nutrient levels such as phosphorous or nitrogen, and particularly when the water is warm and the weather is calm. In extremely rare cases, toxin producing blue-green algae have resulted in the sickness or death of some other animals, including livestock and dogs. You can find a link to the test results webpage on our webpage at www.Algae.IN.Gov.

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