Pikeview Reservoir in northeast Colorado Springs tested positive for blue-green algae, a Colorado Springs Utilities news release read Wednesday.
The popular fishing lake that lies just south of Garden of the Gods Road will be posting extra signs around the perimeter warning of unhealthy algae limits. Although swimming is always prohibited, said Utilities spokeswoman Natalie Eckhart, recent water tests showing positive blue-green algae results prompted extra precaution.
The water is still safe to fish in but anglers are asked to clean the fish thoroughly and remove guts, according to the news release.
The reservoir is at least the second body of water in Colorado Springs to test positive for blue-green algae in the past week.
On Friday, the city closed Prospect Lake in Memorial Park indefinitely for testing positive for the harmful bacteria. A second round of testing the water on Monday revealed levels of toxic algae strong enough to kill dogs.
As of Wednesday, the lake was still closed due to algae levels.
Water regulations for recreational bodies of water are different than drinking water sources, Eckhart said. Pikeview tested less than 5 microgram per liter (mcg/L), which is significantly lower than the 29.7 mcg/L that Prospect Lake tested at. The levels still make it unsafe for people and pets at Pikeview, said Eckhart.
The reservoir has been removed as a drinking water source, according to the Utilities news release. There are no concerns about the tainted water affecting the community.
The algae levels found in Pikeview should not effect the Southern Delivery System, Eckhart said. The SDS water is pulled directly from the Arkansas River and stored in the Pueblo Reservoir.
“It’s our responsibility to provide safe, reliable drinking water to our community and to always consider public safety at our reservoirs,” wrote chief water services officer Earl Wilkinson in a statement. “We will continue to closely monitor our reservoirs and take appropriate actions.”
Over 400 water quality tests a month are conducted by Utilities, according to the news release, including more than 12,000 water samples throughout the year. Testing has increased since warmer weather heightens the risk of blue-green algae and is expected to decrease once cooler weather sets in, said Eckhart.
Bodies of water in urban environments, such as Pikeview Reservoir and Prospect Lake, tend to have a higher load of naturally occurring nutrients that serve as food for the bacteria, Eckhart said. Utilities plans to increase testing for urban bodies of water during the warmer weather.
The state Health Department says toxic amounts of blue-green algae can cause skin irritation or rashes, blisters around the mouth and nose, asthma, nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, headaches, a sore throat, fever, muscle and joint pain, and liver damage.
Click here to view the city’s test results for toxic algae in Prospect Lake.
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