October 03, 2014

Campus Lake closed due to toxic algae

by Rae Goldsmith

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is advising individuals to avoid skin contact with water in Campus Lake due to the presence of toxic algae. 

Human contact with the water can cause skin rashes. Animals swimming in or drinking the water may become ill, and the illness has the potential to be fatal. 

“We are closing the boat house and temporarily banning fishing or boating on the lake,” said Kevin Bame, vice chancellor for administration and finance. “We urge people to keep their pets away from the water.” 

Area drinking water is not affected, he said. 

The toxic algae in Campus Lake is the same naturally occurring algae that caused the City of Carbondale to close Evergreen Reservoir and Piles Fork Creek in June.  It depletes the oxygen level of the water, which may cause fish and other animals and organisms in the water to die. 

The algae will dissipate as temperatures cool and the water is naturally replaced, Bame said, adding that the university cannot predict how long the lake will be closed.  Meanwhile, the university is posting warning signs around the lake. 

The 32nd Doc Spackman Triathlon scheduled for Saturday, Oct 4, will continue as a biathlon without the swimming leg of the race, which was to take place in Campus Lake. Participants are still asked to report to register at the Campus Lake boat dock no later than 7:30 a.m. as previously announced.  Visit spackmantriathlon.siu.edu for more information.