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Algal bloom warning issued: People told to avoid water from Ohio River by Greenup Dam

LLOYD, Ky. — The Commonwealth of Kentucky has issued an algal bloom warning for the waterway around the Greenup Dam in Lloyd, Kentucky.

According to a release from the Kentucky Division of Water and the Kentucky Department for Public Health issued a harmful algal bloom (HAB) recreational public health advisory has been issued for the Ohio River from the Greenup Dam to the McAlpine Dam near Louisville.

The departments said that the warning was for recreational users of the river. No detected microcystin toxins have been reported in the finished, treated water from public water systems which draw from the river.

A HAB recreational public health advisory means algal toxins have been found at various locations along the river.

Swimming, wading and water activities that create spray are not recommended in areas impacted by HABs. The samples were taken on Sept. 25.

Water ingested during recreational activities in this area may increase the risk of gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Skin, eye and throat irritation and/or breathing difficulties, skin rashes, as well as numbness or tingling of limbs may also occur after contact.

Blue-green algae occur naturally in the environment and are a vital part of the ecosystem. Harmful algal blooms arise when there are excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), sunny conditions, warm temperatures and low-flow or low-water conditions.

Harmful algal blooms, on the other hand, appear as slicks of opaque, bright-green paint, but closer inspection often reveals the grainy, sawdust-like appearance of individual colonies. The color of the algae may also appear red or brown.

The following guidelines are recommended to avoid exposure to HABs:

• Individuals should avoid direct contact, including swimming, wading, paddling, diving and water skiing, with affected water that has a visible bloom, unusual color or algal scum.

• People who are prone to respiratory allergies or asthma should avoid areas with HABs. Children may be particularly at risk.

• If contact has been made with water containing blue-green algae, wash off with fresh water. In some cases, skin irritation will appear after prolonged exposure. If symptoms persist, consult your health care provider.

• If fishing in affected waters, fish fillets (not organs) may be consumed after the fillets have been rinsed in clean, potable water.

• Prevent pets and livestock from coming into contact with water where HABs are apparent.

If you are concerned that you have symptoms that are a result of exposure to HABs, please see your doctor and call your local health department.

Kentucky will continue to monitor river water at public water supply intakes. DOW will continue to sample and monitor the public water systems’ raw water and finished, treated water while harmful algal bloom conditions continue