Campus lake closed, water level to be dropped

A frog surrounded by blue-green algae peeks out of the water Sept. 21 at Campus Lake. ( file photo)

By Branda Mitchell, @BrandaM_DE

Campus lake is temporarily closed again, but a longer-term solution to the recurring algae problem is being planned.

The university plans to drop the water level to expose about 20 acres of shoreline, nearly six feet in some areas, to dry out odor-producing materials that continually feed the blue-green algae, according to a university press release. 

Human contact with the water can cause rashes, according to the release. Officials recommend keeping animals out of the water as well.


SIU consulted with faculty and outside experts to make a decision regarding the health of the lake.

Kevin Bame, vice chancellor of administration and finance, said the university also considered chemically treating the algae, but doing so would have caused risks to fish. 

The organic materials will disposed in a landfill or organically after they have dried out.

“The bulk of the algae bloom is in shallower water near Thompson Point,” Bame said in the release. “We will be pulling the water toward the southeastern part of the lake, which is deeper. That is the area we anticipate the bulk of the fish will migrate to.”

Lowering the water will take a month. It may be a year to 15 months before the lake returns to its current level.

The university has been continually monitoring and testing the lake and pipes in the area searching for a cause to various problems. High levels of E.Coli were also found in the lake, the Daily Egyptian previously reported

Branda Mitchell can be reached at [email protected]