CAUTION: Barren River Lake algae causes health concerns for humans and pets

   The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is cautioning boaters and swimmers at Barren River Lake about possible contact with a bloom of blue-green algae capable of producing toxins that can be especially harmful to small children, those with illness and animals.
   The lake remains open to recreational users for swimming and boating but they should be aware of the possibility of adverse health impacts associated with contact with the water.
   Due to high water, however, the beaches and swim areas are closed at this time.
Questions and Answers on Harmful Algae Blooms
Precautionary measures include:
• Avoiding contact with visible algae and not swallowing water while swimming.
• Taking a bath or shower with warm, soapy water after coming in contact with water in ponds and lakes, especially before preparing or consuming food.
• Animals should also not be allowed to swim in or drink untreated water from these sources. Animals can be poisoned by the toxins produced by some algal blooms. Small animals can ingest a toxic dose quickly.
• Dogs are particularly susceptible to blue-green algae poisoning because the scum can attach to their coats and be swallowed during self-cleaning.
• Remove fish skin and organs before cooking; do not consume or allow animals to consume the organs or skin.
   According to World Health Organization guidelines, the algal cell counts are at the cautionary level, and present a higher risk of causing health concerns for all people and animals that come in contact with the water.
   Clinical signs of blue green algae poisoning in animals include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, weakness, seizures and  in extreme levels of toxins, sudden death, especially in livestock.
   The Corps of Engineers is working with the Kentucky Department of Water, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Kentucky Department of Parks to:
• Continue water quality monitoring and provide results to the public;
• Monitor any potential blooms on site at the lake;
• Post advisories at the lake in conspicuous places – either “advisory” (potential health affects) or “caution” (more significant risk of health impacts of HAB)
• Keep boaters, swimmers and those who recreate at the lake informed of the possible risks
   Barren River Lake provides water to local water/utility companies. The utility companies of Allen, Barren and Warren Counties have been notified of the algal blooms.  For specific inquiries about your drinking water quality, contact your utility office.
Water Companies & Phone numbers:
Bowling Green and Warren County: BGMU 270/782-1200 and Warren County Water District 270/842-0052
Glasgow and Barren County: Glasgow Water Company- 270/651-3727
Scottsville and Allen County: Allen County Water District- 270/622-3040 and Scottsville Water Department 270/237-4402
   Factors promoting algal growth include sunlight, warm weather, low turbulence, and nutrient sources such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Phosphorous is particularly important in fueling cyanobacteria growth.
For information on harmful algal blooms and updates on the levels at Corps lakes, visit: http://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterInformation/HABs.aspx
   For questions, please contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Barren River Lake Project Office at 270-646-2055.

2 comments

  1. susie eatmon says:

    I want to know if the algea has cleared up in the lake yet ? please respond soon.

    • Clay says:

      As of the most recent testing, the algae level remains at the Caution level, which requires caution of those in contact with lake water. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is testing the lake regularly and will announce when the level declines.

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