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Harmful algae bloom advisory issued for North Fork of the Shenandoah River

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 8:01 PM EDT
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STRASBURG, Va. (WHSV) - A harmful algae bloom advisory has been issued for the North Fork of the Shenandoah River in Shenandoah County.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, the North Fork of the river is experiencing a benthic harmful algae bloom (HAB) caused by cyanobacteria.

Out of an abundance of caution, VDH is advising the public to avoid contact with blue green algal mats and scum in the river from Bethel Road to Strasburg.

Coming into contact with this algae can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Cyanotoxins, including those identified at this location can be fatal to dogs and other animals when ingested.

The area of the river where algal mats should be avoided can be seen on an interactive map at www.SwimHealthyVA.com.

On July 13 and July 19, the Department of Environmental Quality collected samples at two sites on the river in the Strasburg area which led to the advisory.

The river serves as the raw water source for the Town of Strasburg, which provides public drinking water for a population of approximately 6,495. Since the bloom was discovered, the Town of Strasburg has adjusted the treatment protocol and increased monitoring. VDH has observed no evidence of impacts to drinking water at this time.

You can read the full VDH advisory by clicking here.

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