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fish consumption advisory for clear lake

Wednesday, November 01, 2017 17:13 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

The first ever fish consumption advisory has been issued for an inland lake here once surrounded by heavy industry.

The Indiana State Department of Health is recommending just one meal of fish per month from Clear Lake in LaPorte.

PCB's or polychlorinated biphenyls were discovered in a random sampling of fish taken from the shallow lake near the downtown a few years ago.

Amanda Lahners, environmental health and food supervisor for the LaPorte County Health Department, said test results of sediment collected from the lake over the summer will determine if there's any change in the restriction.

According to the ISDH, the source of the contamination is not known but PCB's banned in the 1970's nationwide were in products used by industry for things like lubricating machines and insulating electrical parts.

PCB's when ingested accumulate in the fat and tissues and exposure is believed to increase the risk of developing cancer and other major illnesses.

''It's not something that you get rid of so there could be some health concerns with that,'' Lahners said.

''Don't eat out of it every week,'' she said.

For well over a century, the Rumely Co. and later Allis Chalmers made farm machinery just west of the shoreline until the 1980's.

Kingsley Furniture was on the other side of the lake until shutting down more than a decade ago.

Both sites were later declared contaminated.

The old Allis Chalmers property after a clean-up has since been redeveloped while the cleared former Kingsley site now owned by NIPSCO is surrounded by a fence.

The advisory also recommends just one meal of largemouth bass every two months while bottom feeding carp from the lake should never be eaten.

Recently, the city has chosen to promote Clear Lake more as a destination with plans to create trails and a parking lot for people wanting to fish along the shoreline.

There's also been a proposal to build apartments close to the water's edge.

Nick Minich, the city engineer, said moving forward with those plans will not be impacted by the advisory.

Some people release the fish they catch and recreate in other ways around the lake.

''There are fish consumption advisories on lakes all around the area with Lake Michigan one of them,'' said Minich.
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