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Early spring algal blooms, avoid discolored water

Health officials encourages the public to avoid contact with algae and to prevent children and pets from swimming or ingesting water in an algal bloom.

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality said the public should continue to avoid contact with discolored water because it may mean the presence of an algal bloom.

The Division of Water Resources said it has already received six reports of possible booms this spring. 

Of the confirmed cases, officials said two of them contained cyanobacteria which is a type of algae that can be harmful to people and pets. 

Algae are a natural occurrence in all water bodies.

Health officials said certain algae can create toxins that lead to adverse health effects in humans, pets, and aquatic organisms. They are called Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).

DPH suggests the following steps to safeguard against algal blooms:

  • Keep children and pets away from water that appears bright green, blue, discolored, or scummy.
  • Do not handle or touch large mats of algae.
  • Avoid handling, cooking, or eating dead fish that may be present.
  • If you come into contact with an algal bloom, wash thoroughly.
  • Use clean water to rinse off pets that may have come into contact with an algal bloom.
  • If your child appears ill after being in waters containing an algal bloom, seek medical care immediately.
  • If your pet appears to stumble, stagger, or collapse after being in a pond, lake, or river, seek veterinary care immediately.

To report an algal bloom, contact the nearest DEQ regional office or submit a report online. To view reported algal bloom events, visit DWR’s Fish Kill & Algal Bloom Dashboard.


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