WONDER LAKE – The Master Property Owners Association has ordered the lake to close until further notice because of the health risks associated with toxic algae.
The closure, issued Friday afternoon, comes after the association received an advisory from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The state agency sent a notice about high concentrations of toxins from blue-green algae found in some northern Illinois lakes.
High concentrations of blue-green algae can produce toxins that could pose a health risk to people and animals.
The health effects are possible when water containing the toxins is swallowed, comes in contact with skin or when airborne droplets containing the toxins are inhaled while swimming, boating, waterskiing, tubing bathing or showering, according to the IEPA.
“People should avoid contact with water that is discolored, [heavy green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red] or has algal scum on the surface and restrict the access of their pets and livestock to this water,” according to the IEPA.
The ongoing drought and shallow water conditions in Wonder Lake have produced an algae bloom, lake manager Randy Stowe said.
As a precaution, the lake will be closed to all boating, waterskiing, swimming and fishing until further notice, Stowe said.
The lake’s closure throughout the Labor Day weekend means the Wonder Lake Water Ski Show Team will be canceling an event that was scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s really a major disappointment to not finish off the season and do our last show for the community,” said Bob Hartmann, a team skier and group adviser. “It’s a bummer, but stuff happens.”
The nationally renowned water ski show team typically draws a crowd ranging from 800 to 1,000 people at its Labor Day weekend event, the season’s final show. Hartmann said he doesn’t remember the last time the team’s final season show was ever canceled.
“That pretty much ends our season,” he said. “ ... They could decide something at a later date but I haven’t heard. We’ve never [rescheduled] before.”
The Wonder Lake Marine Police patrol will enforce the lake closure, Stowe said.