Geist Reservoir: A mix of algae and aesthetic

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. -- Homeowners who live around Geist Reservoir are concerned about algae and invasive weeds growing in the water. 

The Geist Lake Coalition pays for the treatment for the reservoir, through residents contributing every year. Joey Leach, a biologist from the Department of Natural Resources, said the reservoir is treated between the months of May and September. The Geist Lake Coalition hires professional applicator companies that treat the algae and other vegetation with a copper-based product, Leach said. 

But algae can grow back in a week or less. 

READ | Beware of blue-green algae

"It's very concerning," Brian Hall, the Geist Lake Coalition president, said. "If this was to turn toxic, you wouldn't be able to use the reservoir. You can't swim. You can't boat."

Citizens Energy owns Geist Reservoir and monitors the water, watching for high algae levels.

If levels get dangerously high, Citizens Energy will send the information to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. That organization will determine if a warning needs to be issued to the public for recreational use.

The algae can create a bad smell, which affects the taste of the water. At high levels, it can also cause skin irritation, according to Citizens Energy. 

Further complicating the issue is the people fishing on Geist. Leach said they want to fish on the weed beds, but when the treatment product goes into the reservoir, it impacts those areas, making it harder to find fish. Hall warns that if the algae in Geist becomes toxic, it could also impact the property values in the area.

The Geist Lake Coalition is hoping to get more homeowners on board to donate to the treatment program. 

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