ST. MARYS — State officials pulled samples on Monday as part of testing at beaches along Grand Lake St. Marys.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Bethany McCorkle said officials were in the area taking samples to test for toxins ahead of Memorial Day weekend at Grand Lake St. Marys. The state has been routinely testing around the lake and added samples from the beaches this week.
"We'll have those results back on Thursday from the testing," McCorkle told The Evening Leader.
Recent tests for microcystin around the lake have ranged from 24 to 72 parts per billion. McCorkle said once results from Monday's samples are known, the lake will be posted with the appropriate advisory, if necessary.
This year, the state revamped the way it handles postings at waterways. An orange "Recreational Public Health Advisory" sign will be posted at beaches when toxin levels exceed the recommended threshold. The signs will warn individuals who are elderly or very young and people with compromised immune systems that swimming or wading is not recommended. The threshold for this advisory is 6 parts per billion.
A red "No Contact Advisory" sign will be posted when toxin levels exceed the recommended threshold and there are one or more probable cases of human illness or pet deaths attributable to harmful algal blooms. These signs will warn people that unsafe toxins are present in the water and to avoid any contact. The threshold for this advisory is 20 parts per billion plus either a person has become ill or a pet has died.
"Two consecutive, weekly samples below the action levels will be required to change a posting," McCorkle said, noting testing will be conducted on a weekly basis. "If there is a bloom, the bloom has to dissipate."
A brown scum has been spotted in the northwest side of the lake this week. McCorkle said officials are sampling the scum and noted it was not an algae bloom.