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Clear Creek Lake open to swimmers

DUNCAN, Okla._A Stephens County lake that has been closed off to swimmers for several years is finally back open in time for the Fourth of July weekend.

All lakes have some content of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, but high levels were found in Clear Creek Lake in 2012 and authorities were forced to ban swimmers from Clear Creek Lake. Blue-green algae in high concentration can be harmful to human health.

Due to the rainfall over the past few months that Clear Creek Lake received, it helped lower the algae contents and allowed lake superintendent Rusty Smith to open the lake back up.

"We put signs up and it really killed a lot of traffic, it slowed the lake down," Smith explained.

Shutting the lake down to swimmers was not something Smith wanted to do.

"Well, I'm thinking there goes the revenue, you know? It hurts when you start having no place for people to show up," Smith said.

For the past two years, water samples from the lake were sent to the Department of Environmental Quality, and each time the levels of algae were deemed toxic to public health. However, last week when Smith had the water tested again, he got the results he was hoping for and got the go ahead to open the lake to the public.

"It's all over social media, the signs are down, people are ready to get in and they are excited,” Smith said.

With the lake now open, the community is excited to get out on the water this weekend. Lake goer Adam Sims took advantage of the recent opening and says he's looking forward to spending time on the lake over the holiday weekend.

"It's my first time out on the lake, on a jet ski, since 2010. Popping fireworks is fun, but being on the water is where it's at," said Sims.

There are about 40 different campsites open for the weekend at Clear Creek Lake. Smith says the lake is open for swimmers from sunrise to sunset.

Smith has been watching over the lakes for the last 31 years. He says they will be doing routine blue-green algae checks.

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