Public Health Warning Signs Issued For Lake Mitchell

MITCHELL, S.D. — Those who are planning to visit Lake Mitchell might have to alter their plans. The city has issued a public health warning due to rising chemical levels in the water.

Warning signs saying swim at your own risk decorate Lake Mitchell. This city is attempting to keep people out of the water as the chlorophyll levels have risen nearly four times higher than they were at this time last year.

“We test three different locations and the thresholds over came all three locations, and if they do above 50 parts per billion then we put out a warning just to let people know,” says Powell.

Nathan Powell is Mitchell’s Parks and Recreation Director. He wants people and their pets to stay out of contact with the water, but it is not enforced.

Nausea, seizures and breathing problems are a few side effects of contact with the contaminated water, but not all fun is lost.

“Boating is encouraged and fishing is encouraged and we have a lot of trails around the lake,” says Powell.

Algae issues aren’t a new situation for the lake.

“Probably a half dozen times last year and this is our first time this year we’ve had a lot of rain a lot of cooler weather that’s helped,” says Powell.

Lake Mitchell’s advisory committee has been working to find a solution for restoring the lake. Dredging and cleaning water that flows into the lake were options discussed.

“We’re getting closer to finding a recommendation, and that’s what we’re seeing from the committee at this time, and they do want me to refine some of those costs, and we’ll get that to them over this month,” says Powell.

There is not set date for the lake restoration, but Powell expects the chlorophyll levels to lower this week.

If you’re worried about your weekend plans, the city tests the water weekly, and if it’s contaminated they post the signs on Fridays.

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