Blue Green Algae Detected At Cunningham Falls State Park Lake

Swimming in the lake is not recommended.

Photo from Maryland Department of Natural Resources website

Frederick, Md (KM) If you’re planning to take a swim at the lake at Cunningham Falls State Park this weekend., you may want to wait. . The Frederick County Health Department says water samples taken from the lake were tested, and a blue-green algae known as Microcystis aeruginosa was detected. The Department says swimming in the lake is not recommended.

Officials say this algae occurs naturally in the Chesapeake Bay and other bodies of fresh water. Blooms of Microcystis aeruginosa can also be found in nutrient rich environments and can become harmful in high concentrations, or produce toxins.  It can also cause gastroenteritis and liver damage.

Signs of Microcystis aeruginosa can be bright green waters, or a surface scum that looks like green paint. If contact is unavoidable, the Health Department says you can wash it off. If any skin irritation continues, see a doctor.

It’s also best to keep pets and livestock from bloom areas. Officials say ingesting small amounts of the water ftom the bloom areas should not harm pets. Residents who have questions about symptoms displayed by their pets should speak with the veterinarian.

The Health Department says it will be monitoring the situation with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Department of the Environment. Water samples will continue to be taken until the blooms are no longer visible, or the algae is below action levels.

By Kevin McManus