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No-swim advisories due to algae blooms still in effect at Lake Anna

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Harmful algae blooms continue to float in Lake Anna, meaning no-swim advisories that have been in effect all summer continue.

Lake Anna has been plagued by the algae the past five summers, and samples taken Sept. 6 confirmed the cyanobacteria remains, the Virginia Health Department said in a Sept. 13 press release.

The samples detected unsafe levels of harmful algae at eight locations in the North Anna and Pamunkey branches, the health department reported. The health department has issued no-swim advisories for five areas of the Pamunkey and North Anna branches, as well as the Lake Anna State Park beach.

The most recent samples at the beach area “indicated cyanobacteria densities were at acceptable levels; however, two samples collected 10 days apart at acceptable levels are needed to lift the advisory,” according the health department.

Lake Anna was recently added, along with six other bodies of water, to the state’s impaired waterways list because of the algae blooms.

The blooms appear when nitrogen and phosphorus pollution combine with warm water temperatures, leading to toxins that threaten the health of people, pets, fish and shellfish.

Some harmful algae blooms are caused by cyanobacteria that can cause skin rashes, stomach illness, vomiting and diarrhea.

There are efforts underway to treat parts of Lake Anna.

The Lake Anna Civic Association has raised more than the $110,000 needed for a program to address the algae with its Cyanobacteria Mitigation Program, which will use BlueGreen Water Technologies’ treatment to target the algae without harming other life forms or leaving any chemical trace in the water.

The treatment has been tested in a select areas of the lake, with some positive results, but treatment in other spots has not been as successful.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

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