Harmful algae blooms have spread to more areas at Lake Anna.
The Virginia Department of Health collected samples from the lake on Aug. 5 and recently updated the harmful algae bloom map, which shows seven areas that now have no-swim advisories.
The harmful algae blooms have been detected in the upper areas of the North Anna and Pamunkey branches this summer. Now the blooms have spread to the middle and lower areas of the branches.
Three areas in the North Anna Branch have the advisories: the upper branch or the “Sandbar,” north of Holladay Bridge, and the lower area.
Four locations on the Pamunkey branch have the no-swim advisories: upper branch, below U.S. 522; upper branch tributary at Terry’s Run branch at State Route 719; upper branch tributary at Simms Point/Harris Lane; middle branch at Dillards Bridge/Route 719.
The harmful algae is a cyanobacteria that can cause skin rashes and stomach illnesses. Other cyanobacteria found at the lake, including the Lake Anna State park beach area on the Pamunkey branch, were deemed to be at acceptable levels.
The advisories mark the fourth straight year with harmful algae blooms in the 13,000-acre manmade lake, which cools the Dominion Virginia Energy North Anna nuclear power plant and is surrounded by hundreds of homes.
The Department of Health and the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force will continue to monitor water quality in the lake, including monthly tests.
There also is a no-swim advisory for the swimming beach area at Widewater State Park on Aquia Creek in Stafford County because of a harmful algae bloom. Samples for that area were last taken on July 14, according to the task force online algae bloom map.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436