Springfield Township and Lakemore are warning people and pets to avoid all contact with the water at Springfield Lake because of a harmful algal bloom.

The public health advisory, which was issued Thursday, will remain in effect until the algae toxins return to safe levels. Springfield Township and Lakemore share the 289-acre lake.

Warning signs have been placed around the lake. Fishing and boating are still permitted, but people shouldn't be exposed to the water, said Tonia Burford, environmental health director at Summit County Public Health. Exposure can sicken people and pets.

People or animals exposed to toxins from algae blooms through direct skin contact or inhalation may experience irritated skin, eyes, nose, throat or respiratory tract, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection. Symptoms can vary depending on how they were exposed, how long they were exposed, and the particular toxin involved.

Burford said officials noticed a layer of film on the lake last week and requested further testing, which revealed the elevated levels of algae toxins.

The tests showed toxin levels of 10 parts per billion, she said. A health advisory is issued when levels reach 6 parts per billion.

The advisory will remain in effect until two consecutive tests taken at least one week apart show that levels have dropped below the threshold.

Algal blooms occur because of a combination of factors, including water temperature, rainfall and nutrient runoff within the watershed.

"This happens in late summer across the state," Burford said. "It’s a common occurrence."

She noted that warning signs were put up around Silver Lake earlier this month.

 

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.