Campus Lake algae bloom a concern for SIU administrators

More than 16,000 students walk around it every day, but for the last two years scientists say the waters in the Southern Illinois University Campus Lake have been hazardous to your health.

"It’s what is commonly called a blue green algae," said SIU Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Kevin Bame. "It’s a bacteria that is usually present when there are usually high nitrogen and phosphorous levels in warm bodies of water."

While it won’t kill you, SIU administrators made the call to close the lake due to health concerns.

"If you don’t get in the lake, don’t drink the water, it should be safe," said Bame. "It could give you a rash. Keep small children and animals out of the lake or they could become sick."

The larger concern is what’s causing the algae bloom.

"We’re actively searching for the source," said Bame. "We’re monitoring sanitary sewers to see if we have a possible leak."

Since the toxic algae depends on light and warmth for growth, Bame says the university hopes that the algae will be gone by the end of October when things cool off.

They will reassess the situation once the weather warms back up in the spring.

Bame says draining and dredging the lake would fix the problem but, due to the school’s financial situation, that currently isn’t in the budget.

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