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Health officials say best to avoid algae in SC lakes, rivers

July 3, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina health officials are warning swimmers and boaters to watch out for algae blooms on the state’s lakes and rivers.

The blooms aren’t unusual and many aren’t directly harmful to humans or animals, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control said in a statement.

But some algae blooms are formed by toxic organisms and those are more likely to occur in the warmer waters during the summer, health officials said.

The dangerous algae blooms can’t be detected simply by sight and some form on lake bottoms or riverbeds, so scientists recommend avoiding all algae if possible.

A bloom in Lake Whelchel in Cherokee County has exceeded state water quality standards leading the Gaffney Board of Public Works to advise against swimming in the River Inlet area.

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Parts of Lake Wateree have also seen extensive algae blooms, but they have not exceeded water quality standards, DHEC said.

If a person or a pet encounters algae on the lake or in a river, DHEC said they should rinse off in tap water as soon as possible and seek medical attention if they begin to feel or look ill.