Blue Green Algae Bloom at Sutton Lake Reported Dissipated - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Blue Green Algae Bloom at Sutton Lake Reported Dissipated

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SUTTON -

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has cautioned swimmers and boaters about possible contact with a blue-green algae bloom at Sutton Lake.

"The office received a call from a member of the public who was concerned about something they had seen in the water, on the water at the South Abutment Beach, and one of our maintenance men responded saw something that he believed was a possible algae bloom," said Keith Anne Nuckles, Sutton Lake Resource Manager.

The discovery of this bloom led officials to take samples, and the results caused the corp of engineers to close swimming at the South Abutment Beach.

Fresh water biologists determined the bloom produced high levels of toxins.

"We had levels, cell counts that were 1.2 million cells per mil. The World Health Organization what they consider harmful is 100,000 so we were over 10 times higher," said Steve Foster, fresh water biologist.

Blooms can be moved by wind and waves leaving toxins behind, the appearance of clean water doesn't mean that toxins are not present and can give a false sense of security.

"In neighboring states there's a lot more agricultural run off, there's possible more nutrient inputs, there's more retention times there's a possibility we'll get stagnant water. There's a lot of factors into what causes these blooms," said Foster.

Since it was first reported, corps of engineers said the blue-green algae has dissipated and the South Abutment Beach has reopened. Updated advisory posters will remain in place through July 8 to advise the public to exercise caution in the lake, and avoid areas with blue-green algae.

"Public safety is very important. We get well over a half million visitors to Sutton Lake every year, and the lake and the water is what draws them, and it's very important for us to have a safe and recreational opportunity for them," Nuckles said.

The team will be collecting additional samples for cell counts, and once those cell counts are lowered all signs will be removed. 

Park Rangers at Sutton Lake continue to work with the local health department, and the Division of Natural Resources to continue boat patrols and water quality monitoring.

No other lake in the Huntington District has shown signs of a harmful bloom of blue-green algae.