Harmful algae present at Lake Fayetteville


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A harmful algal bloom was reported on Lake Fayetteville on June 3.

The water sample taken from Lake Fayetteville by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) showed 30 parts per billion (ppb) of microcystin in the algae scum layer on a portion of the surface of Lake Fayetteville, according to a release.

This level requires public notification and signage at the location, according to the release.

The release said the City of Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department has been working with the Arkansas Water Resource Center (AWRC) at the University of Arkansas to monitor algal toxins in Lake Fayetteville over the last two years. 

The AWRC said it has been testing the lake weekly and the toxin levels are highly variable at Lake Fayetteville. 

The majority of test results have been under the recommended threshold for recreational contact (8 ppb). 

However, algal bloom and recent test results have shown elevated toxins could exist in the algae scum layer. 

The AWRC said it will continue to monitor the water quality of the lake and the City will make recommendations, in conjunction with ADEQ and AWRC, for public use.

Until further notice, caution should be used and activities that involve water contact should be avoided, especially in areas with algal scum. 

Exposure to harmful algae bloom toxins happen through skin contact, inhalation, and ingestion.

Human and animal illnesses and symptoms can vary depending on how they were exposed, how long they were exposed, and which HAB toxin was involved.

If there is contact with the algae or water, it should be washed off immediately.

Contact a doctor or veterinarian if people or animals have nausea, rash, irritated eyes, seizures, breathing problems, or other unexplained illnesses.

Report possible illness to the Arkansas Department of Health by email adh.ep.its@arkansas.gov or call 501-280-4168.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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