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State expands swim advisory as algae blooms spread at Lake Anna
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State expands swim advisory as algae blooms spread at Lake Anna

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algae bloom map

This Harmful Algae Bloom report shows where harmful algae concentrations exceed safe levels (red dots) and where they are below safe levels (green dots).

The harmful algae blooms at Lake Anna have spread to other areas of the popular summer spot in Spotsylvania, Louisa and Orange counties.

Virginia Department of Health officials first reported harmful algae blooms earlier this month from a June sample and issued a swim advisory for the Upper Pamunkey branch of the lake.

That area, below U.S. 522, remains under the advisory after July 13 samples detected the harmful algae, a cyanobacteria that can cause skin rashes and stomach illnesses. The harmful algae bloom was deemed to be at acceptable levels at the Simms Point/Harris Lane area.

The recent samples also detected the harmful algae in the North Anna Upper and Middle branches.

According to the health department, the swim advisory for the Upper branch runs from the “upper inundated waters of the North Anna arm of the lake downstream to the Route 522 Bridge.”

The Middle branch advisory covers the area from the U.S. 522 bridge downstream to the Lumsden Flats/Rose Valley cove.

The department advised people to avoid contact with the lake in the area of the blooms until the water returns to acceptable levels. Swimmers are warned to “avoid discolored water or scums that are green or blueish-green, because they are more likely to contain toxins.”

The advisories mark the fourth straight year with harmful algae blooms in the 13,000-acre man-made lake, which cools the Dominion Virginia Energy North Anna nuclear power plant and is surrounded by hundreds of homes.

The Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force will continue to monitor water quality in the lake. The next samples are scheduled to be taken the first week of August.

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436


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