Toxic algae warning issued for Champaign County’s Kiser Lake

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State officials have issued a toxic algae bloom warning for Kiser Lake in Champaign County.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued a public health advisory late last week after a bloom was spotted on the water, said Matt Eiselstein, spokesman for the department.

“The microcystin levels were high,” he said.

Levels of the toxic algae tested at 42 parts per million, according to the state’s July 10 testing records, seven times higher than the 6 parts per million level when the state issues a warning, Eiselstein said.

The rainy summer season could be behind the algae bloom, he said, but an official cause hasn’t been determined.

Agricultural runoff or faulty septic systems could be one of a number of factors that contributed to the bloom.

“We wouldn’t want to speculate how any of the nutrients made it into the water,” Eiselstein said.

The advisory warns that children, older people and those with sensitive immune systems shouldn’t swim in the water. But other activities such as fishing and boating aren’t affected by the warning, Eiselstein said.

“It’s just something we want people just to be aware of so they can make a good decision for their own family,” he said.

Some families stopped by the beach Tuesday and were surprised to see the warning signs posted.

“I was a little bit upset,” said Adessa Harris of Christiansburg. She brought her niece, nephew and daughters to swim in the lake.

“They were all excited to play but now we’ll just play in the sand and not go near the water,” she said.

Steve Phillips of Kenton fishes with his wife at the lake regularly and said he saw many swimmers at the beach over the weekend.

“If you see it, stay away from it,” Phillips said of the algae on the water.

The state re-tested the water over the weekend and on Monday, Eiselstein said.

The warning will be lifted once two tests of the water come back clear, he said, and the results of the last tests should be back by the end of the week.

Phillips said the algae bloom won’t stop him from fishing and enjoying his catch.

“I took home fish last night and served it to my twin grandsons and they ate it all,” he said.

And once the state lifts the swimming warning, Harris said she will bring her family back to enjoy the water.

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