The Upper Pamunkey Branch, Terry’s Run and Upper North Anna Branch of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties are experiencing a harmful algae bloom, according to an advisory issued Wednesday by the Virginia Department of Health.
The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake in these areas until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The areas to avoid can be seen at SwimHealthyVA.com.
Created in the late 1960s to serve North Anna Nuclear Plant, Lake Anna is long and fairly shallow, so when hot weather hits, it’s prone to grow the unhealthy algae, and this is not the first VDH advisory about it.
Results of samples collected at sites within these latest areas contained potentially harmful algae exceeding safe swimming levels.
People and pets are advised to not swim, windsurf or paddle-board or engage in other activities that pose a risk of ingesting water or skin exposure. Advisory signs will be posted in impacted areas of the lake.
Routine monitoring occurring above Route 208 on Lake Anna on July 15 produced samples at three sites that indicated swimming advisories were necessary, according to the release.
Avoid contact with any area of the lake where water is green or an advisory sign is posted, the health department advised.
The Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force, with Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Old Dominion Phytoplankton lab, will continue to monitor water quality in the lake.
In general, advisories will be lifted following two consecutive test results with acceptable levels for algal cell counts and/or toxin concentration. An advisory may be lifted or maintained at the discretion of the health department.