The Center for Lakes and Streams, Grace College, has received a $6,000 donation from the Wawasee Property Owners Association. Funds will go towards further research and implementing of testing relating to blue-green algae toxins.
Included in the research is a screening method to provide rapid results.
Currently there is an approximate two-week delay in getting test results returned, at which time a health threat may have passed.
Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Center for Lakes and Streams, noted microscopic equipment will be purchased over the winter, allowing for testing to begin in the spring on the algae toxins.
The center has been working on a blue-green algae study with a grant from the Natural Science Foundation and along with the University of Michigan and Ohio State University.
The study is looking at how farming is influencing blue-green algae in Lake Erie. The same toxin, microsystin, that prohibited a half-million Toledo residents from using drinking water, is what is being looked at in a four-year study.
The study is looking at 58 lake sites and 28 streams in Kosciusko County. Bosch noted while microsystin is found in lakes, it is not currently a consistent health threat, but could be in the future.
The study has allowed the center to find a promising screening method to provide rapid results. It has also found there may be other algae toxins causing problems, yet to be tested. Area lakes have various levels of microsystins, but other species, which are producing anatoxins and saxitoxins have yet to be tested.
He has noted there are three significant toxin levels of concern: over 1 part per billion prohibiting drinking of the water, 4 ppb, reduction of recreational contact and 20 ppb, shutting down the lake.
Further information is available at lakes.grace.edu on this study.