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Toxic blue-green algae found at Pikeview Reservoir

Pikeview Reservoir, a popular fishing lake in central Colorado Springs, recently tested positive for blue-green algae.
Sign posted at Pikeview Reservoir warning visitors about the presence of blue-green algae
Sign posted at Pikeview Reservoir warning visitors about the presence of blue-green algae(Colorado Springs Utilities)
Published: Aug. 1, 2020 at 9:40 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Toxic algae have been found at a popular fishing lake in central Colorado Springs. On Saturday, the city announced Pikeview Reservoir recently tested positive for blue-green algae.

Colorado Springs Utilities says the reservoir is still safe for fishing, but humans and pets are not allowed in the water until further notice.

CSU says the reservoir has also been removed as a source for drinking water temporarily. They are not concerned about the presence of the algae affecting the water supply for the community.

“It’s our responsibility to provide safe, reliable drinking water to our community and to always consider public safety at our reservoirs. We will continue to closely monitor our reservoirs and take appropriate actions,” Earl Wilkinson, chief water services officer said.

CSU promises to increase the frequency of testing at all reservoirs at lower elevations. They note an increasing occurrence of the toxic algae in reservoirs nationwide this year. Its presence has closed bodies of water across the United States and limited recreational access.

Prospect Lake, a recreational lake in Colorado Springs, also recently tested positive for the algae.

BLUE-GREEN ALGAE BACKGROUND

What is harmful algae?

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria common in lakes throughout Colorado. When conditions are right, blue-green algae multiplies quickly. Those conditions include sustained hot weather, stagnant water, and polluted stormwater runoff.

These conditions result in too much nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in the water. This causes the harmful bacteria to grow faster than the ecosystem can handle. The increased bacteria harm water quality, decrease the amount of oxygen available to animals living in the water, and can produce a toxin that is harmful to humans and pets.

Blue-green algae are self-limiting, naturally-occurring bacteria, which means it eventually phases itself out of bodies of water.

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