Madison closes four beaches for blue-green algae

Blue-green algae bloom in Lake Mendota. (Courtesy of UW-Madison Center for Limnology)
Blue-green algae bloom in Lake Mendota. (Courtesy of UW-Madison Center for Limnology)(NBC15)
Published: Jun. 17, 2019 at 12:11 PM CDT
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The City of Madison closed four beaches Monday for high levels of blue-green algae.

Olin Beach at Olin Park off of John Nolen Drive, and Esther Park Beach on Waunona Way are closed for swimming, according to an email sent by the city. Both beaches are on Lake Monona. Spring Harbor Beach Park and Maple Bluff Beach Park on Lake Mendota are also closed.

The beaches will reopen when conditions are acceptable.

After two men died after being pulled from Lake Monona during the half Ironman on June 9, the incident prompted questions about whether blue-green algae could have been a factor.

Public health officials said they tested the water before and after the race and did not find any toxins from blue-green algae.

Michael McCulloch, 61, of Cottage Grove died after he was pulled from the lake. An autopsy showed his death was consistent with an accidental drowning due to a medical incident. Additional testing is underway.

Firefighter Todd Mahoney, 38, died two days after the event. The fire department is waiting on a report from the medical examiner to learn more information on Mahoney's death.

Other beaches that were closed earlier in June, including Hudson Park Lake Access Point Beach, Olbrich Park, Warner Park, Verona Fireman's Park and BB Clarke Park, are open. Public Health Madison and Dane County tested bacteria levels at these beaches on Monday, and deemed the levels acceptable.