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Dangerous Levels of Blue Green Algae Toxins, Cells in Geist

Just got off the phone with Veolia Water and I have some disturbing news. Recent tests for the toxic blue green algae in Geist Reservoir came back showing high levels of toxins and even higher cell counts.

"Toxin levels in Geist are just as high as they were two years ago when we had the first big scare in years," said Paul Whitmore with Veolia Water. "Cell counts are actually higher than they were back then, so this should be taken seriously."

Veolia is working with IDEM, DNR, and the State Health Department today to issue a health warning.

"Don't drink the water and rinse off thoroughly if you are swimming or come in contact with the water," added Whitmore.

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Comment by Utopian Splendor on July 30, 2009 at 7:20am
great quote- "Dont drink the water"

the reservoir is a watershed. Period. all you folk who think its a playground, youre wrong. I dont want any more chemicals thrown into our DRINKING water than is absolutely necessary. Period.

what can be done? most likely, nothing. algae are simple-celled creatures (of God). someone will probably promote the introduction of filter feeders to remove the algae (and clean up the colloidal 'muck' that makes geist so picturesque).

isn't part of the bloom of specific strains of algae unique to light transmission and temperature? water temps are influenced by water depth and light transmission. shallow water will have more turbidity (less space for particles to settle & more easily disrupted by boat / hydraulic activity).

who controls the dredging of the reservoir? that should be managed, operated, and funded, entirely, by the city. it should be a ZERO PROFIT operation. dredge the reservoir to make it DEEPER. not to recover fill for cement. that dredge has been stuck over by the bridge for months. sounds like its not doing much.
Comment by LAVERGNE B RENSING on July 29, 2009 at 8:52pm
I went to the meetings two years ago. As I recall they said you could kill the algae but it would release all the toxin it holds at once. There was also something about it would deplete the oxygen in the water and cause a large fish kill. They said that the heat, slow moving water and the amount of nutrients, (fertilizer) were the culprits. Seems like it's been cool enough, and we've had enough rain to keep the water moving. Maybe we need to do something about the run off from our lawns. (fertilizer)
Comment by Tom Britt on July 29, 2009 at 8:19pm
here is the release from IDEM click here
Comment by Tom Britt on July 29, 2009 at 8:02pm
Mike, the geist lake coalition has been working on this for a few years. The testing began last year via a grant they secured and they are working closely with the Fall Creek Watershed group. GHPOA has no dog in this fight, this is an IDEM and Veolia Water issue. Veolia won't treat the water unless the algae affects the taste or smell of the water. I think everybody is disgusted with the situation, I would contend that this has probably been a problem all along, we're just now in the know about it thanks to some testing.
Comment by Mike Reckley on July 29, 2009 at 7:44pm
Where is our lake committee and why hasn't the GHOPA been more forceful with the water company to take some type of treatment. We all know that their are chemicals to treat this kind of problem and should be used even though it is our drinking water. The water company can filter out (neutralize) those bacterial killing chemicals if they so desire. It would be nice to get this body of water in healthier shape than it's ever been "someday". Not only can u not enjoy swimming u can't eat any of the fish and feel safe about it. I rake out a 30 gallon bag of garbage about every month of disgusting junk, cans, debris, etc.
Comment by Bill Silva on July 29, 2009 at 4:58pm
I sat in on the meeting when the scientist from IUPUI gave the report. They mentioned how the algae is growing faster than last year and the toxins are more powerful. Last year there was actually an airborne bacteria as well. During the testing, it was found that at least the strain of bacteria they found is not the one that will attack the liver. It can cause skin problems and can cause stomach problems if swallowed. If you are worried about drinking the water in your home contact my company. If you are interested in doing something that will help reduce the problem contact us.
Comment by mike kilander on July 29, 2009 at 1:16pm
Actually It appears the entire lake is a dump station. My kids and I have had skin irritation of late after having been in the lake. It seems to be very real. The question I would pause, aside from over fertilizing and "dumping" in the lake what can be done. Is there a solution via chemical intervention.
Comment by Jackie on July 29, 2009 at 10:29am
With the amount of boats on Geist, WHY isn't there a Dump Station available?
Comment by Don Riner on July 29, 2009 at 9:59am
I don't doubt the science or test results, but let's not go nuts with a scary sounding 'health warning'. I ski Geist every day (since April) and have no ill effects to report. But I did get a swimmer's ear the day after visiting a public pool. Now that was scary!

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