The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District has closed the public swim beach at the Dry Brooks Day Use Area of Blue Marsh Lake in Bern Township due to extremely high levels of blue-green algae in the water, which can be toxic.
“Additionally, visitors are advised to avoid contact with the lake water until further notice,” a statement released Thursday by the U.S. Army Corps said.
The Corps said it has been working with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to conduct sampling and testing at different locations at the lake.
“Test results have indicated high levels of blue-green algae and the potential for harmful toxins produced by these algae,” the corps statement said. “Heavy rainfall and significant runoff convey nutrients to the reservoir. When followed by hot weather, blue-green algae can thrive and multiply. Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms found naturally in all types of water. In warm, nutrient-rich environments, cyanobacteria can multiply quickly, creating blooms that spread across the water’s surface. These blooms can create toxins that are harmful to humans and pets.”
The algae blooms are not unusual.
“What I can tell you is that we do have the algae blooms every summer at Blue Marsh,” said Stephen Rochette, spokesman for the Philadelphia District earlier this month. “It’s a recurring issue that is a result of the agricultural use in the watershed and runoff and significant amounts of rain.”
Children and pets can be particularly susceptible to the toxic blooms, the Corps noted, so they should not be allowed to play in or drink water from the lake.
More information about harmful algal blooms is available at https://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/Water/HABs and https://www.cdc.gov/habs/illness-symptoms-freshwater.html .
Source: Berkshire mont