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Wednesday, 26 July 2017 14:39

Fontana algal bloom persists

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An algal bloom observed in the Tuckasegee arm of Fontana Lake during late June continues to develop, prompting the N.C. Division of Water Resources to remind people to avoid contact with the filamentous bluegreen algae.

The bloom has been observed near the Bryson City 288 boat ramp and Fontana Dam but may be present in other areas. Laboratory analysis of water samples identified the species as Aphanizomenon and Anabaena, which may produce toxins and pose a health risk. State water quality specialists will continue to monitor conditions.

There have been no reports of adverse health effects in people due to the bloom, but officials recommend that people avoid contact with large accumulations of algae and prevent children and pets from swimming and ingesting water in the vicinity.

An algal bloom was also detected at Waterville Lake in Haywood County in late June. According to Bridget Munger of the Department of Environmental Quality, staff observed the site once more July 12 and saw that, while it was still blooming, the algae appeared to be somewhat diminished from the initial visit. The levels of algal toxin detected in the lake are associated with a low risk of adverse health effects.

For more information about algae, including safety tips, visit deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/water-resources/water-resources-data/water-sciences-home-page/ecosystems-branch/algal-blooms.

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