Woods Creek reopens for recreation after algae infestation
Woods Creek Lake in Lake in the Hills has reopened for recreational use, including swimming, fishing and boating, after being closed for eight days due to the presence of potentially toxic blue-green algae bloom.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's visual inspections and tests have determined the blue-green algae bloom continues to dissipate, officials said on the village website.
Tests show levels of microcystin -- a class of toxins produced by certain freshwater blue-green algae -- are below federal EPA recreation guidelines.
Bloom conditions and microcystin concentrations vary with time and microcystins can persist for up to two weeks after the bloom has dissipated, officials said.
Village officials continue to monitor water conditions on Woods Creek Lake and will post beach condition reports on the village website and at the beaches with flags.
The Illinois Department of Public Health this month said conditions were favorable for the growth of this type of bacteria across all bodies of water in the state.
Blue-green algae reproduces quickly in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. Most blue-green algal blooms are not harmful, but blooms that produce toxins can be, according to the IEPA.
When blooming, blue-green algae can be mildly toxic to humans. Contact may result in a rash, mild nausea, or allergic reactions. Blooming blue-green algae can also be toxic to animals.
The most common symptom from exposure to algal toxins is skin irritation with onset occurring after direct contact with the water. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, throat irritation, allergic reactions, or difficulty breathing. For more information, visit the IEPA website, illinois.gov/epa.