Harmful Algae May Be Present At Lake Fayetteville, Visitors Asked To Use Caution

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — For most residents, Lake Fayetteville is a destination for fishing, hiking, bird watching, biking and participating in recreational programs. It is also an education and research facility for the University of Arkansas and several other schools to use.

In early May, a first-year engineering honors team from the U of A took several water samples from the lake and also monitored the algae. They found a higher than normal level of algae toxin called Microcycstin, or a "bloom."

The spring’s heavy and frequent rainstorms combined with the lake’s nutrient levels and recent warm temperatures have sped up the rapid growth of algae, creating an algae bloom.

The rain washes landscaping fertilizers, which contain nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, downstream into the lake.

According to a press release from the city's water and sewer operations, Lake Fayetteville visitors should follow precautions while at the lake.

Visitors should avoid areas of algae accumulation, rinse off with clean, treated water after being in the lake, clean fish well and properly dispose of the guts and do not let pets drink lake water or eat the dried algae.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says there are relatively few documented cases of severe human health effects. If inhalation or ingestion occurs by a human or pet – watch for symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, rash, irritated eyes, seizures, breathing problems or other unexplained illness and contact a doctor or veterinarian.

City officials remind residents and businesses to be aware of materials such as fertilizers, petroleum products, detergents, etc. that rain washes into our natural waterways and infrastructure. Learn more stormwater management and water quality at the City’s website here.

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