July 28, 2017, News Release from Thomas Jefferson Health District:
(Charlottesville, Va.) – Chris Greene Lake in Albemarle County is experiencing a harmful algae bloom that is a naturally occurring circumstance due to recent weather conditions. The public is advised to avoid contact with the lake water until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels.
Preliminary tests indicate a blue-green algae Aphanizomenon spp. was detected at elevated concentrations in Chris Greene Lake. This algae can produce a toxin that can cause rashes and other illnesses. Toxin screening levels conducted on 7/27/17 are just below those which may pose a health risk. Additional laboratory testing for samples collected are pending.
People and pets are prohibited from entering the water in the vicinity of the swimming beach, dog park, and boat ramp.
Most algae species are harmless however some species may produce irritating compounds or toxins. Algae blooms occur naturally when warm water and nutrients combine to make conditions favorable for algae growth such as has occurred recently with the significantly warmer temperatures and lack of rainfall to create adequate inflow into the lake to keep the water moving.
Chris Greene Lake is one of three swimming lakes operated by Albemarle County Parks and Recreation. The public should be aware that the other two swimming lakes, Mint Springs and Walnut Creek, have been visually inspected for algae and remain open to season pass holders and others at this time.
Albemarle Co. Parks and Recreation and the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force, which includes the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Old Dominion Phytoplankton lab, will continue to monitor water quality in the lake. Water access will reopen following a minimum of two consecutive weeks of acceptable levels for algal cell counts and toxin concentration. For more information on acceptable algae levels, see the Virginia Department of Health Recreational Advisory Guidance for Microcystin/Microcystis at www.HarmfulAlgaeVA.com.
To prevent illness, people should:
• Avoid contact with any area of the pond where water is green or an advisory sign is posted.
• Do not allow children or pets to drink from natural bodies of water.
• Keep children and pets out of the HAB water and quickly wash them off with fresh water after coming into contact with algae.
• If you or your animals experience symptoms after swimming in or near an algal bloom, seek medical/veterinarian care.
• If you suspect you experienced health-related effects following exposure to a bloom, contact the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Hotline at 1-888-238-6154
• To learn more about HABs or to report an algae bloom or fish kill visit: www.HarmfulAlgaeVA.com