Boating, swimming suspended at Carlinville Lake

Boating, swimming suspended at Carlinville Lake

CARLINVILLE (June 7, 2018) – The Carlinville City Council Monday heard from Project Director Dan Held of Woodard and Curran  about recent issues at Carlinville Lake which resulted in the suspension of boating and swimming on the water.

On May 30, the city issued a statement through Held that boating would not be available on Lake 1 or Lake 2 until further notice.

Furthermore, swimming was also suspended on Lake 1 after regular tests concluded a high level of fecal bacteria levels.

The first call from the water plant was for a high level of manganese, which has discolored the water.

Manganese is a naturally occurring element found in the air, soil and water and an essential nutrient for humans and animals. Held had said that in concentrations higher than 0.05 ppm, the manganese may become noticeable by impairing the color, odor or taste of the water, although health effects are not a concern until concentrations are around 10 times higher, the EPA said.

“Four items that prompted the boat access – the first is the lake conditions,” Held said.

Carlinville Lake 1, built in 1939, has 15,481 acres of watershed on 168 total acres of land, Held said. Eighty percent of the land around the lake is forest or agriculture land.

The lake was dredged in the 1970s, and the dam was raised about three feet.

In 2006, the depth in parts of the lake was about 14-16 feet. In 2012, it was down to seven to nine feet.

“As the level of the dam dictates how high the level of the water can get, the floor is slowly rising on the bottom of the lake, so the lake has less and less water in it.”

Water quality is also an issue. IEPA in February came out and did a water quality evaluation. They then state what items need to be fixed, and others they suggest need fixed, Held said.

The IEPA had one recommendation in that the city must continue efforts to eliminate taste and odor events that have been experiencing in recent years, Held added.

Water plant influent is another factor leading to the boating ban at the lake for the time being. Jim Knight is the water plant foreman, and Held is thankful for him because he keeps up with all the records of manganese and other contaminants in the water.

“Lake 2 is getting low, so we switched over to Lake 1 because Lake 1 regenerates so fast because of the 15,000 acres,” Held said. “The quality of water in Lake 1 is good. So the manganese levels came up. So that’s why we issued the statement on manganese.”

He added that washing light colored clothing while doing laundry could result in some spots on the clothes. Putting bleach in the water could make it worse. There is no public health issues to report.

Held said the manganese levels raised from .7 to .58 to .55 and then  closer to Memorial Day, the levels increased to 1.5 and 1.4.

“I’m assuming that’s because the floor of the lake was disturbed,” Held said. “Based on that, we’re assuming that was due to recreational activity that took place on the lake.”


On May 30, a routine sample was pulled for total coliform and e-coli.

Total coliform is a bacteria that is harmless to humans in most cases, but is an indicator of perhaps other bacteria in the water that could be harmful to humans, Held said.

Test results came back Friday, June 1 with e-coli levels went from a 1.0 on March 19 to an 8.6 for the latest test taken.

Total coliform at Lake 1 was less than 2,419.2 at the last reading.

Illinois EPA requires Carlinville Lake to pull samples ever so often. The city pulls tests twice a month for a year.

“They will analyze those results,” Held said. “Based on those results, they will determine what you will need to do at the water plant, if anything, to guard against cryptosporidium.”

It is a concern because chlorine does not do well against the bacteria and causes water born disease outbreaks such as diarrhea and stomach cramps, Held said.

“What it boils down to is should we compromise the quality of the water going out to the general public  to keep boating?” Held said. “Based on that, it was better to err on the safe side, so we suspended that.”

Held hopes the e-coli levels will drop right back down when the next tests are done next week. Then swimming at the beach could be reinstated if the levels come back at a normal rate.

“We’re always watching that influent water from the plant for the drinking water going out into the public to meet EPA standards,” Held said. “If it doesn’t, we will be the first to notify you about that.”

Alley improvements

Discussion about whether to allow alley improvements between Broad, Loveless, West and Blackburn Streets was tabled for a second straight meeting.

Mitchell Brothers Electric requested the city rock the south half of the alley, as they are relocating their business to this location and would like the alley rocked for ease of access.

There is brush and a tree that may need to be removed, as well as a shed on one of the properties on the west side of the alley that may need to be moved slightly.

A representative from Mitchell Brothers will be asked to come to the next council meeting, and aldermen Sarah Oswald and Joe Direso will attempt to speak with some of the residents effected to get their thoughts on whether an alley should be opened all the way through.

Further discussion will take place on this topic later.

Sidewalk bids

The council opened two envelopes containing the bids for sidewalk repair project in town.

Quarton Construction of Palmyra and JRS Concrete Construction of Carlinville both had the same bid  for four-inch sidewalk at $6.50 per square foot.

Quarton Construction had the low bid of $7.50 per square foot for six-inch sidewalk. JRS Concrete Construction had the low bid for ADA specification ramps at $129.

No decision was made on who would be awarded the contract. Held will review the projects, and it will be sent to the public works committee meeting next week, where they will have the power to act on making a decision.

Other business

John Howard was appointed by Carlinville Deanna Demuzio as a police commissioner, replacing Dr. John Comerford, who resigned his post last month.

A first reading was held for the MJM Enterprise Zone application. It would add 14.64 acres of land parcel numbers at 18300 Shipman Blacktop, located south of the Lewis and Clark building.

A second read for an ordinance for the chief of police salary for 2017 was also discussed.

Due to miscommunication, paperwork on the ordinance was not completed and not in current order. The police chief’s salary did increase from $56,243 to $60,000 but was not properly recorded.

Prevailing wage ordinance first read was discussed.

First read for an ordinance re-zoning property at 18804 Route 4 and an ordinance annexing certain territory to the city with regards to the MJM enterprise zone application, were both discussed.

Boating permits have been suspended due to the ongoing issues at the lake, and full refunds will be given to anybody who requests them.

Thus far, only 69 permits had been sold when usually around 350 are sold at this time, according to Lake Rec Committee Chairman Doug Downey.


Boating and swimming are suspended at Carlinville Lake for the foreseeable future due to high levels of manganese and e-coli which were detected last week.