County tests Lake Tranquility for blue green algae
Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawler recently joined Lake County senior biologist Mike Adam for a test of Lake Tranquility's levels of blue green algae.
Blue green algae is what's commonly called "pond scum." It's a type of bacteria usually found on the surface of lakes or ponds that lives off the sun. It generally proliferates in the summer and can contaminate water supplies by releasing toxins in certain conditions. If consumed, blue green algae can cause cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, fever, weakness and difficulty breathing.
"We have the ability to test for one of the common toxins that are in these algae blooms," Adams said. "Just by looking at the bloom itself, we don't know if there's toxins or not. We actually have to have a test."
Adams said the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has provided test kits and funding for the tests. He also advised residents to avoid any water that appears to have blue green algae on it if it has a particularly strong smell.
In addition to monitoring for blue green algae, Lake County Health Deapartment also tests swimming beaches for e. coli bacteria.
If any of the samples tested for any harmful substance come back high, county health officials will immediately notify the public and restrict access to the contaminated area, Adams said.