Algae on Mill Creek Park lakes to be tested to see if it’s harmful

A large part of Mill Creek Park’s Lake Newport remains covered with thick green algae Wednesday night. Park officials say it’s a direct result of the warm, dry conditions we’ve had the past several weeks.

An algal bloom covered about 20 percent of Lake Newport on Tuesday, confined to an area right up against the dam.

On Wednesday, the algae had broken up. Most of it shifted to one side and now it extends the entire length of Lake Newport.

It’s so thick, it looks like a green covering.

The next step is to have it tested to see if it’s harmful.

“We don’t know whether or not that bright green algae is classified as a harmful algal bloom,” said Mill Creek Park Director Aaron Young.

Ryan Tekac, with the Mahoning County Health Department, said he was notified of the issue on Tuesday.

Both Young and Tekac have been in contact with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“At this point, they recommend doing testing,” Tekac said.

The testing could take place on Thursday. It’ll take about two days to get the results, then they’ll decide what — if anything — should be done.

“Not all algal blooms are considered harmful,” Tekac said.

If it turns out to be harmful, the water will need more testing.

Tekac said the algae is a direct result of the recent high temperatures and lack of rain.

Wednesday was the 12th straight day with temperatures above 80 degrees in Youngstown. On Tuesday, it had been 12 days without rain.

“The level that is there now is certainly indicative of the climate conditions that we’ve been experiencing, which is weeks of high temperature and little rainfall,” Young said.

On Wednesday, there were some areas of open water on Lake Newport, which is not totally covered with the algal bloom.

It’s recommended that canoeists and kayakers stay off the lake.

“We’re not going to close them. If they’re adamant about getting in there and recreating, you can still do that at Newport,” Young said. “The algae’s not over the entire surface area but I don’t know how enjoyable it would be paddling within it.”

Lake Cohasset had some spots of algae but none was visible on Lake Glacier. Just to be safe, Young is going to have Glacier tested anyway.

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