Harmful algal bloom advisory lifted for Blackwater River arm of Smith Mountain Lake
Environment, Virginia

Harmful algal bloom advisory lifted for Blackwater River arm of Smith Mountain Lake

Crystal Graham
algae bloom in lake
(© Alexey Stiop – stock.adobe.com)

The harmful algal bloom advisory in the Upper Blackwater River arm of Smith Mountain Lake in Franklin County is no longer in effect.

The Upper Blackwater River had acceptable levels of algae in samples collected July 13 and August 15, allowing the Virginia Department of Health to lift the advisory from the upper inundated areas of the Blackwater River to its confluence with Gills Creek.

Normal recreational activities may resume in the area of the Upper Blackwater River.

The public should continue to be aware of and avoid water that smells, is discolored, or where there are dead fish present.

Algal blooms can occur when warm water and nutrients combine to make conditions favorable for algal growth. Most algal species are harmless. However, some species may produce irritating compounds or toxins. Avoid discolored water or scums that are green or bluish-green because they are more likely to contain toxins.

To prevent illness, people should:

Avoid contact with any area of the lake where scums are present.

Not allow children or pets to drink from natural bodies of water.

Always cleanse skin, clothing, and your pet’s fur after swimming in the lake with plenty of fresh, clean soapy water after.

Properly clean fish by removing skin and discarding all internal organs and cook fish to the proper temperature to ensure fish fillets are safe to eat.

For more information visit www.SwimHealthyVA.com.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.