Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory Update: Advisory Continues for Upper, Middle, and Lower Sections of North Anna and Pamunkey Branches (including Terry’s Run) of Lake Anna

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — September 13, 2022
Media Contact: Brookie Crawford, Brookie.Crawford@vdh.virginia.gov

Harmful Algae Bloom Advisory Update: Advisory Continues for Upper, Middle, and Lower Sections of North Anna and Pamunkey Branches (including Terry’s Run) of Lake Anna
Public Advised to Avoid Water Contact with Upper, Middle, and Lower sections of Lake Anna above Route 208 in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties

RICHMOND, Va. – The North Anna and Upper Pamunkey branches, including Terry’s Run, of Lake Anna in Orange, Louisa and Spotsylvania counties continue to experience a harmful algae bloom (HAB). The public is advised to avoid contact with specific areas of the lake until algae concentrations return to acceptable levels.

Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The area to avoid can be seen on an interactive Harmful Algal Bloom map. A status report containing the updated advisory areas may be viewed at Lake Anna HAB Status Report 9.13.22.

Sample results from collections on September 6 indicated that five locations in the North Anna and Pamunkey Branches, swimming advisories are necessary due to unsafe levels of cyanobacteria, which have the potential to produce toxins. People and pets are advised to avoid swimming, windsurfing and stand-up-paddleboarding, as well as other activities that pose a risk of ingesting water. Activities such as boating may continue with proper precaution in advisory areas. Follow-up monitoring above Route. 208 on the lake is planned (weather permitting) for the first week of October.

The samples collected at the Lake Anna State Park beach September 6 indicated cyanobacteria densities were at acceptable levels; however, two samples collected 10 days apart at acceptable levels are needed to lift the advisory.

The sections of the lake currently under advisory:

Pamunkey Branch – Upper (including Terry’s Run) and Middle  

  • Upper – From the upper inundated waters of the Pamunkey to the confluence with Terry’s Run.
  • Terrys Run – From the upper inundated waters of Terry’s Run to the confluence with the Pamunkey Branch.
  • Middle – From the confluence of Terry’s Run with Pamunkey Branch to Route 612 (Stubbs Bridge).
  • Lower – From the Route 612 (Stubbs Bridge) downstream to near the confluence with North Anna (at the “Splits”), including the Lake Anna State Park Beach.

North Anna Branch – Upper and Middle

  • Upper – From the upper inundated waters to the Route 522 Bridge.
  • Middle – From the Route 522 Bridge, to include Route 719 (Holladay Bridge), to Lumsden Flats at Rose Valley Drive. The section of lake where the advisory has been lifted.

The advisory has been lifted for the following area and is no longer in effect:

Lake Anna (Main Branch)

  • From the confluence of the North Anna Branch and Pamunkey branch downstream to above the confluence with Pigeon Run (tributary along State Park).

Algae blooms can occur when warm water and nutrients combine to make conditions favorable for algae growth. Most algae species are harmless, however, some species may produce irritating compounds or toxins. Avoid discolored water or scums that are green or bluish-green because they are more likely to contain toxins.

To prevent illness, people should:

  • Avoid contact with any area of the lake where water is green or an advisory sign is posted, WHEN IN DOUBT, STAY OUT!
  • Not allow children or pets to drink from natural bodies of water.
  • Keep children and pets out of the areas experiencing a harmful algae bloom and quickly wash them off with plenty of fresh, clean water after coming into contact with algae scum or bloom water.
  • Seek medical/veterinarian care if you or your animals experience symptoms after swimming in or near an algal bloom.
  • Properly clean fish by removing skin and discarding all internal organs, and cooking fish to the proper temperature to ensure fish fillets are safe to eat.
  • Contact the Harmful Algal Bloom Hotline at 1-888-238-6154 if you suspect you experienced health-related effects following exposure to a bloom.
  • Visit SwimHealthyVA.com to learn more about harmful algae blooms or to report an algae bloom or fish kill.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force, which includes the VDH, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Old Dominion University Phytoplankton Laboratory, will continue to monitor water quality in the lake. In general, advisories will be lifted following two consecutive test results with acceptable levels for algal cell counts and/or toxin concentration. An advisory may be lifted or maintained at the discretion of the health department. For example, after one test an advisory may be lifted if results are within safe levels for swimming if other information indicates exposure or human health risk is low.

The Harmful Algal Bloom map is updated to reflect the HAB advisory status of Lake Anna. The recent advisory extent is summarized in the Lake Anna HAB Status Report 9.13.22. For more information visit www.SwimHealthyVA.com.

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