Public Urged To Avoid Algal Bloom In Chowan River

Aug 3, 2021

FILE PHOTO: A July 2018 algal bloom in the Chowan River.
Credit NCDEQ

State officials say residents in some Northeastern North Carolina counties should avoid coming into contact with an algal bloom in the Chowan River.  Counties currently affected include Chowan and Bertie Counties. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality's Divsion of Water Resources said in a news release that the algal bloom has lingered in the area since July 27, 2021.  The bloom has been observed near Edenton (from Arrowhead Beach to Rockyhock) and Colerain. According to NCDEQ, a quantitative test detected an algal toxin known as microcystin in this bloom at 350 μg/L which exceeds public health advisory levels.  Contact with the algae should be avoided because of possible adverse health effects in humans and pets, though no reports have been associated with this bloom. The algae associated with this bloom belongs to the algal group cyanobacteria which usually appears bright green, but changes to a milky blue as the bloom starts to decay.  Decaying algae may produce a strong, foul odor.