INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Now that the hot weather is here, more people will be looking for ways to cool down. Many will head to local lakes and reservoirs. Testing of those waters is underway for potentially dangerous blue green algae.
Swimming in water with high concentrations of the algae can cause rashes, or worse. Last summer during the drought, the toxic algae was responsible for killing two dogs in Indiana.
Earlier this month Citizens Water tested for blue green algae levels at Eagle Creek and discovered levels reached a point where the water had to be treated.
"What we are monitoring for specifically is taste and odor issues. In early June we noticed we were having some of those issues at Eagle Creek reservoir," said Citizens Spokesperson Sarah Holsapple.
Since treating the water, the blue green algae levels have dropped back down to an acceptable range.
Holsapple says Citizens tests for water quality at Eagle Creek, Morse and Geist Reservoirs two times a week. So far this sumer, only Eagle Creek has seen elevated levels of the blue green algae.
On Monday, IDEM began its summer testing of lakes used for recreation in State Parks.
IDEM's Cyndi Wagner says the blue green algae blooms in hot weather.
"They really thrive in warm, still water that has a lot of nutrients in it. As you get more into summer, you get less rain, the temperatures get higher, the phosphorous is washed into the water and settled, those are the kind of conditions they really like," said Wagner.
During the summer drought of 2012, many State beaches and lakes were shut down because of high levels of the algae. IDEN says Mother Nature plays the biggest role in determining if that will happen this year.
IDEM's blue green algae test results are posted and updated each Friday on the IDEM and Indiana DNR website. That way families can find out if a specific State Park lake is safe to swim in before they head out their front door.
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