‘When in doubt, stay out:’ SC DHEC issues warning for possible toxic algae

Algal blooms
Algal blooms(ND DEQ)
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 12:17 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The Department of Health and Environmental Control issued a warning on Monday about potentially dangerous algae in South Carolina waters. The agency said swimmers and boaters should be aware as the weather warms up.

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can develop in rivers, lakes and even oceans under the right conditions. They’re more likely to occur in late spring to early fall as water temperatures increase. HABs can produce toxins that make people and animals sick.

Algal blooms smell bad and cause the water to look green, red-brown or blue. Sometimes you may see foam or scum on top of the water from algal blooms.

You can’t tell just by looking at an algal bloom if it is dangerous, so you should keep people and pets away from potential blooms and notify DHEC if you see one.

“If you’re planning on recreating in a water body, we advise you to visually inspect the water before going in,” said Emily Bores, DHEC’s HAB Coordinator. “If you notice a foul smell or discoloration, it’s best to err on the side of caution and stay away. Remember, when in doubt, stay out.”

Click here for more information or to contact SC DHEC.