NewsOn6.com & Lacie Lowry, News On 6
UNDATED – The Grand River Dam Authority said Tuesday it continues to monitor the waters at Grand Lake after an algae outbreak.
Blue green algae has been found in several areas of the lake. The GRDA advised the public to stay out of the water over the holiday weekend and continued to stress that warning Tuesday.
7/2/2011 Related Story: Few Boaters Brave Grand Lake Waters On Holiday Weekend
"While the public is still very much encouraged to enjoy activities in the Grand Lake area, GRDA continues to strongly warn against recreational activities that involve bodily contact with Grand Lake waters," Justin Alberty, with the GRDA, said.
Alberty said the GRDA is taking daily water samples from the lake.
A Tulsa man developed a rash after swimming at Grand Lake over the holiday weekend.
Levi Brinson said he knew about the blue green algae and what it can do to the body, but he made a conscious decision to swim at the lake and support the businesses that have been hit hard this year by mother nature.
"Spent the whole week basically up there," Brinson said. "Sunday night is when I first started breaking out."
The rash spread to his shoulders, back and even his ears.
"I woke up and my palms were itching, and then it spread kind of to my hands and my arms and I had some on my hip when I woke up," he said. "It was like basically 1,500 mosquito bites, pretty much like poison ivy. It's not an open sore."
Brinson was working at the lake Tuesday through Thursday, performing tests on marina electronics and jumping in and out of the water to keep cool, and then he boated and swam Friday through Sunday.
He thinks that extra exposure is the reason he was the only one in his group of about twenty who was affected.
"We just decided kind of as a group to go ahead and swim and be at the lake to support all the businesses and restaurants because I feel like Grand Lake has already been hit pretty hard," he said.
Brinson says he doesn't regret swimming and had there been children or dogs with his group, they wouldn't have jumped in.
"Really, at the end of the day, if I have to itch for an hour or two and get five good days at the lake, then it's worth it," he said. "It's nothing a little Benadryl can't fix. I don't regret my decision."
BGA are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams, usually in low numbers. However, the algae can become abundant in shallow, warm water that gets heavy sunlight.
While most BGA are not toxic, toxins can be produced in some algae blooms.