Inland lakes at risk for algae blooms

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WEST MICHIGAN - A toxic algae has been found in a handful of West Michigan lakes and it could be making you and your pets sick.

It is called cyanobacteria or blue-green algae.

In a worst case scenario, it can kill you.  But, bacteria levels here haven't registered too high.

Several lakes throughout West Michigan however are testing positive for the toxic algae, including Mona Lake and Bear Lake in Muskegon County, Long Lake in Ionia County, Pontiac Lake in Oakland County and Lamberton Lake in Kent County.

The toxic algae forms when temperatures are warm, the sun is out and excess nutrients enter the water, like fertilizer, septic runoffs and animal feces.  The algae looks like spilled paint and has surface scum or globs floating in the water.  If this is ingested, it can be poisonous to people and pets.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is working with the Kent County Health Department to help spread the word about being safe with the growing algae blooms.

Experts say that blooms change with the weather and any bloom lasting more than two or three days is rare.  The bloom in Lamberton Lake was just tested Monday and results are still pending.

If you are concerned with the health of your lake, contact your local county health department.

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