PERU — Mississinewa Lake has been placed under a blue-green algae advisory, and officials are warning swimmers that contact with the algae could cause rashes or nausea.
The advisory was issued after the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) conducted testing at the lake on July 6.
Swimming and boating are still permitted, but officials say to avoid contact with algae as well as swallowing water while swimming.
Patrons should take a bath or shower with warm soapy water after coming in contact with the lake water. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says to not use lake water for cooking or bathing, and to not allow pets to swim or drink water where algae are present.
IDEM says exposure to blue-green algae during swimming, wading or water-skiing can lead to rashes, skin or eye irritation and effects such as nausea, stomach aches and tingling in fingers and toes.
Mississinewa is one of eight state-owned lakes currently under the advisory. Ten other lakes are under a low-risk advisory, and no lakes are currently closed because of the algae, according to the DNR’s website.
IDEM says the nutrients that cause an algae bloom come from excess or misapplied lawn and agricultural fertilizers, runoff from pastures, feedlots, lawns and golf courses and discharges from non-regulated sewage treatment systems.
Other factors that aid in the growth of algae include sunlight, warm weather and low turbulence. Algae blooms are most common from May to October but may occur at all times of the year.
Sampling of the DNR’s swimming beaches began May 17 and will end the week of Aug. 30, in advance of Labor Day weekend.