Recent heavy rain caused more ground water runoff into the lake, which adds nutrients to the water and encourages algae growth. The algae produce toxins.
Summit County’s director of environmental health, Tonia Burford, says people should avoid contact with the water and be sure not to swallow it because that can lead to health problems.
“At a minimal level, you could have breathing issues; stomach problems, such as GI (gastrointestinal) upset; rashes. If you have long-term ongoing exposure to cyanotoxins, at a large level, you could have liver damage," she said.
Burford says swimming activities should be restricted, especially for children, and jet skiing or any activities that might spray the water should be avoided. Limited boating and fishing is safe, as well as eating fish as they don't metabolize the toxins in the same way humans do.
Burford says the state uses satellite imagery to spot possible blooms and then they send out teams to test the water. The imagery was implemented widely last year.
She says the bloom isn’t uncommon in Springfield Lake for this time of year, and they’re monitoring a few other lakes where advisories could be forthcoming, including Silver Lake in the village of Silver Lake.
The state health department’s app, BeachGuard, can be used to check water quality and advisories.