Lakefront Closed Indefinitely: DHMO Contamination

Dave was out at L1 a short while ago and alerted me of a new and very distressing development. It appears that all access to the lakefront has been banned until further notice due to excessive levels of potentially toxic chemical contaminants in the water, specifically dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO).

DHMO, also known as hydroxylic acid, is an industrial solvent and coolant that is used, among other things, in the production of silicon wafers and in nuclear power plants. It is also used extensively in the distribution of pesticides and is a key component of toxic agricultural runoff. In the Midwest alone DHMO has caused millions of dollars of property damage due to its corrosive effect on infrastructure.

From a human health and safety perspective, DHMO exposure can be especially harmful – and even fatal. Accidental inhalation of DHMO, even in small quantities, can cause severe injury or even death, and prolonged exposure to solid DHMO causes severe tissue damage. Known as the “silent killer,” DHMO toxicity is responsible for over 300,000 fatalities each year worldwide.

The health and safety of all OWC swimmers is the number one priority to us.

In compliance with this lakefront ban, OWC will discontinue all meetups immediately.

2 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Brackett
    April 15, 2018

    Who instituted the ban? Is it known where the DHMO came from? Did it follow a CSO report? How long did the ban last? I see from the next blog that swimmers were back in the water April 8th.

    • Steve
      April 16, 2018

      The DHMO levels in the lake have been very high for quite some time, so it’s difficult to pin down any specific source. CSO events, particularly those that involve opening up the locks and discharging stormwater into the lake, undoubtedly increase DHMO levels in Lake Michigan – particularly near the shoreline. We still swim in the lake despite all of this. However, there are risks. My guess would be that all OWC swimmers have significantly high DHMO levels in their blood and cerebral spinal fluid.


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