Health Advisory Lifted for Flannagan Reservoir in Dickenson County


Media Contact:Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, 540-580-2960,

Health Advisory Lifted for Flannagan Reservoir in Dickenson County

(RICHMOND, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health has lifted the health advisory for the lower (eastern) areas of John W. Flannagan Reservoir in Dickenson County.

The advisory, issued August 9, was a precaution for potential health risks from a bloom of algae in the lake. It advised that lake visitors should avoiding swimming, wading or bathing, including windsurfing and stand-up-paddle-boarding; any activities which posed a risk of skin contact or accidentally ingesting the water.

The lake water has been tested frequently since the bloom appeared. Two recent results showed algae concentrations were in the safe range, thus the advisory has been lifted. Additional water samples collected in the Pound and Cranesnest Rivers, which flow into the lake, continued to be in the safe range for algae and toxins.

The reservoir serves as the raw water source for the John Flannagan Water Authority, which provides public drinking water to Dickenson and Buchanan counties and parts of Wise and Tazewell counties, serving some 37,000 customers. There was never any evidence of any adverse health impacts to the drinking water from the algae bloom.

The 1,143-acre reservoir, formed by a dam on the Cranesnest and Pound Rivers, is a popular local recreation area for boating, swimming and fishing, with public access at five boat ramps, three campgrounds, two fishing piers and a marina.

Algae blooms continue to occur across Virginia. Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Always take the following steps to prevent illness:

  • Avoid contact with any area of the lake where water is green or an advisory sign is posted. WHEN IN


  • Do not allow people or pets to drink from natural bodies of water.
  • Keep people and pets out of the areas experiencing a harmful algae bloom. Wash off with plenty of fresh, clean water after coming into contact with algae scum or bloom water.
  • If you or your animals experience symptoms after swimming in or near an algal bloom, seek medical/veterinarian care.
  • To ensure fish fillets are safe to eat, properly clean fish by removing skin and discarding all internal organs, and cooking fish to the proper temperature.
  • 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 harmful algae blooms or to report an algae bloom or fish kill visit

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 blueish-green because they are more likely to contain toxins.

The Virginia Department of Health 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 monitor water quality in the lake.

For more information visit