Algae bloom advisory ends on Shenandoah River

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 6:13 PM EDT
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SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - An algae bloom advisory put on parts of the Shenandoah River since July has been lifted.

During the summer the North Fork of the river was experiencing a benthic harmful algae bloom (HAB) caused by cyanobacteria.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Virginia Department of Health advised 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 could 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 Virginia Department of Health says water samples from the river were collected last week and showed toxins were low or nonexistent.

Dr. Colin Greene with the Lord Fairfax Health District says rainfall from Hurricane Ida helped flush the algae away.

“Runoff from the land around it tends to bring that nitrogen into the water but once we had the heavy rains that algae was washed downstream and dispersed,” Greene said.

Green says members with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will continue to monitor parts of the river.

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