Chandler – The latest Grand Lake water samples — showing a significant decrease in blue green algae (BGA) toxicity — have prompted the Grand River Dam Authority to remove its “no bodily contact” warning for Grand Lake waters. Rather, the public is now simply encouraged to use caution in the water and avoid body contact with areas of visible BGA accumulations and “scum.” Meanwhile, GRDA continues to encourage the public to enjoy all activities in the Grand Lake area.
GRDA made the decision to remove the warning following an update from GRDA staff at the July 13 board meeting in Chandler.
“Conditions have improved significantly and at this point, we are no longer discouraging body contact with the waters,” said GRDA Ecosystems Management Director Dr. Darrell Townsend. “Rather, we are simply urging the public to use common sense, remain vigilant and avoid those areas where BGA scums appear to be present.”
The following swimming precautions are also recommended by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ):
• Hold nose or wear nose plugs when jumping into the water
• Wash open skin cuts and scrapes with clean soap and water immediately after swimming
• Avoid swallowing water when swimming
• Wear ear plugs to prevent ear infections
• Wear swim goggles or masks to prevent eye infections
• Avoid swimming near storm drains (pipes that drain polluted water from streets)
• Take children to the restroom frequently/Use swim diapers on infants
• Stay away from any area that that has floating debris, stagnant water, oil sheens or dead fish
In his report to the board on July 13, Townsend said samples taken earlier this week showed the decrease, which may indicate the algae is dying off. However, he said, GRDA will continue its daily monitoring and sampling efforts, as long as conditions warrant. If conditions do change, GRDA will notify the public.
For more information on BGA, visit grda.com or deq.state.ok.us.