Harmful Algal Bloom in Kentucky Lake Almost Gone

Nov. 4, 2019

Just one month after a recreational advisory was issued for a harmful algal bloom in Briggs Lake, the cyanobacteria is almost gone. 

A month after the state issued a public health advisory for a harmful algal bloom in Kentucky’s Briggs Lake, the cyanobacteria is almost gone, according to Bowling Green Daily News.

The algal bloom was originally discovered when the Kentucky Division of Water was conducting sampling in Briggs Lake in Sept. through satellite imagery. There were colonies of cyanobacteria visible across the entire lake. Kentucky’s drought and extreme heat in Sept. contributed to the bloom. 

The advisory is a recreational advisory only, as there have been no detected microcystin toxins reported in the finished, treated water from public water systems, reported Berea Online. Precautions are still being taken to monitor public water systems’ raw water and finished, treated water, however. 

“In the latest image, it appears to have cleared up throughout the majority of the lake, with a small portion still visible. We expect to resample it this week or next to reassess the advisory,” said cabinet spokesperson Robin Hartman in an email.

In 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey and Army Corps of Engineers partnered to study Nolin River Lake in Kentucky. High concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorous, chlorophyll and pheophytin at high levels were found.

“All of our reservoirs in Kentucky are dominated by cyanobacteria in the phytoplankton community,” said Jade Young, a water quality biologist and limnologist for the USACE Louisville District.

The microcystins produced by harmful algal blooms pose significant health risks to people, pets and wildlife, according to the EPA. The state’s recreational public health advisories for the harmful algal bloom in Briggs Lake and along parts of the Ohio River remain active, according to Bowling Green Daily News.

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Cristina Tuser