The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning that an algae bloom in Taylorsville Lake may be harmful to people and animals.
This algae bloom is a type of cyanobacteria that produces toxins. It can cause nose and skin irritation, as well as other illnesses in humans and animals.
From the Kentucky Division of Water:
The more typical green algae, which is not harmful to humans or animals, come in many forms and may look like underwater moss, stringy mats or floating scum. Cyanobacteria, on the other hand, looks like slicks of opaque, bright-green paint, but closer inspection often reveals the grainy, sawdust-like appearance of individual colonies of bacteria. The color of the algae may also appear as red or brown.
Symptoms of harmful algae bloom (HAB) exposure may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; skin and eye irritation, and/or throat irritation or breathing difficulties. If you are concerned that you have symptoms that are a result of exposure to HABs, please see your doctor and call your local health department.
The Army Corps and DOW recommend the public not swim or drink the lake water until the algae is gone, and not water pets or livestock.
Update: The Army Corps wants to clarify that swimming and boating areas aren’t closed at Taylorsville Lake. From spokeswoman Carol Labashosky:
Visitors to Taylorsville Lake must consider risks before participating in water-related activities. Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria present in all lakes, but during certain conditions can become concentrated at levels which can cause adverse health effects to people and pets. Children, pets, and individuals susceptible to illness or rash are most likely to be affected by blue-green algae. The current blue-algae levels are at the threshold. At this time, the algae levels are at an acceptable level but may cause health concerns.
Reservoirs with advisories or warnings are NOT closed. Boating and swimming are still permitted and businesses are still open. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the lake, but be aware of the potential risk associated with primary body contact with the water.
The earlier release from the Division of Water advises people that direct contact with water (like swimming, wading, fishing, paddling, diving and water skiing) may result in symptoms. These could include gastrointestinal problems, skin and eye irritation, throat irritation or breathing difficulties.