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A suspicious looking algal bloom at the Thornapple Lake beach at Charlton Park, first thought to be harmful to people and pets, was later confirmed not to be at a level that would pose a threat to humans or animals, according to the Barry Eaton District Health Department.

 

An initial test by the DEQ on July 12 showed the toxin that often causes harmful algal blooms was probably present at the beach, but the levels of the toxin were unknown.

 

Out of caution and to protect the health of the public, the Barry-Eaton District Health Department issued a public health advisory for the swimming beach and recommended that people and pets not enter the water, especially where blue-green algae is visible.  

 

On July 14, the health department,  with guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, sampled the water and updated the public health advisory, noting it is below the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft recreational criteria.

 

The health advisory was lifted July 14.

 

The health department strongly suggests that lake users still follow these recommendations:

*Avoid water that looks like spilled paint, has surface scum or films, is discolored or has colored streaks, and/or has green globs floating below the surface.

* Keep pets out of water with the above characteristics. If they come into contact with this water, rinse them off immediately. Do not let them drink the water or lick algae off their coats.

* Avoid swallowing water and rinse off with clean water after swimming.//

 

The public should also know that the amount of blue-green algae present in the lake could change quickly. A potential harmful algal bloom could occur at any time.

Awareness signs have been posted at various public access points to Thornapple Lake. While not all algal blooms produce toxins, to be safe, people and animals should avoid contact with very thick green scum in surface waters.

 

If you have concerns about algae in surface waters, contact MDEQ at AlgaeBloom@michigan.gov. For more information about harmful  algal blooms, see MDEQ’s information at https://goo.gl/Ar6HSG. For information on how they can affect health, visit https://www.cdc.gov/habs/.

 

 

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