Toxic Algae Found In Carbondale Waterways


By WSIL Manager
By Evie Allen

UPDATE: 8:05 P.M. Saturday, June 14th

CARBONDALE -- The city of Carbondale has issued a water safety alert. Officials say toxic algae was found at Evergreen Reservoir and Piles Fork Creek, and it's harmful to people and animals. 

If you were hoping to spend some time at Evergreen Park in Carbondale, you'll have to go somewhere else.

Carbondale city council woman Jane Adams says SIU staff noticed the milky bluish look in Piles Fork Creek on Friday.

"The Evergreen Reservoir is where the Algae Bloom happened," says Adams.

Initially, City Manager Kevin Baity thought someone might have dumped something into the creek or the city's sanitary sewer.

"Then we started noticing that it's not flowing with the water, it's flowing in the water, but not a part of the water," recalls Baity.

They immediately had the water in the creek and reservoir tested and discovered two types of natural forming algae competing for oxygen, leaving the levels low and killing about 100 fish.

"The algae is actually a bloom and it turns the blue color whenever the light hits it. And the greatest competition is present for the oxygen in the water," explains Baity.

As the water undergoes further testing, people are warned to stay clear of the water. Baity says the bloom has migrated up the creek and through much of Carbondale.

"With the tail end of it now being at college avenue. We're standing here at Dorthella, and it has migrated it's way all the way north, past Main Street and it's working it's way out of town."

Baity warns exposure may cause skin irritation or rashes. Animals swimming or drinking the water could become severely sick or die. But the city's drinking water is still safe.

"This in no way has anything to do with the water supply of Carbondale or any of the water districts that get their water from Carbondale," says Adams.

Baity says they're hoping the algae will clear up on its own. Iif not, it could spread to larger waterways like Big Muddy and the Mississippi.

City officials expect the results of further testing on Monday. The Evergreen Park will be closed until further notice.

CARBONDALE -- The city of Carbondale has issued a water safety alert.

City Manager Kevin Baity issued a statement Friday warning Carbondale residents of a skin contact and toxicity alert for the water in Evergreen Reservoir and in Piles Fork Creek.

Carbondale officials were alerted Friday  that the water in Piles Fork Creek was turning a bluish color in isolated areas.  Initial results of samples taken indicate natural forming toxic algae may be present.

Officials warn residents to stay out of Evergreen Reservoir and Piles Fork Creek, and to avoid all contact with the water.  The absence of the bluish color does not mean the water is clean.  The algae is slow moving and may have already moved through the area or dissipated causing the water to return to a clear state. 

Human exposure to the water may cause skin irritation or rashes.  Animals swimming in or drinking the water could become sick with potentially fatal consequences.

Drinking water is still safe to consume, as the supply comes from Cedar Lake not Evergreen Reservoir.

Additional samples have been taken for testing.


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