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DHEC Update on Recreational Water Advisory & Recreational Watches for Portions of Lake Wyle due to Harmful Algae

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 22, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is continuing to monitor an ongoing harmful algal bloom on Lake Wylie. As part of DHEC’s Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring Strategy, the agency collected samples from Lake Wylie on Oct. 20 that were analyzed on Oct. 22. There are still current recreational advisories in place for the following areas on Lake Wylie that have exceeded our state standards:

  • Continuing recreational advisory from Sep. 30th:
    • Cove between Clematis Trail and Acacia Road 
  • Continuing recreational advisories from Oct. 8th:
    • Cove between Point Clear Drive and Marquesas Avenue
    • Cove between Palmyra Drive and Molokai Drive 

The recreational swim advisories, due to elevated microcystins in the above coves, are only for the areas along the shoreline where the cyanobacteria tends to accumulate.

While the samples collected on October 20th have resulted in no new recreational advisories, additional “recreational watches” have been issued by DHEC on Lake Wylie as cyanobacteria was found at bloom levels in the cove but at levels that don’t exceed the state’s water quality standards.

These watches do not include the open water portions of Lake Wylie. Visit DHEC’s Algal Bloom Monitoring map to see the locations of the recreational advisory and watches.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency names microcystin as a potent liver toxin and possible human carcinogen. DHEC has been coordinating and communicating with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Mecklenburg County Stormwater, and Duke Energy.

Harmful Algal Blooms tend to increase with warmer water temperatures and high nutrient input and can last for several weeks. These blooms can look like bright green spilled paint and/or blue-green discoloration of the water. With cooler temperatures, heavy winds, and rain these blooms may begin to break up and die off. 

With the harmful algal bloom still present throughout Lake Wylie as of October 20th, DHEC advises that: “When in Doubt, Stay Out.”

For more information, please contact DHEC’s Bureau of Water at 803-898-8374. If calling after hours, please leave a message that can be returned.  For additional information about harmful algae in South Carolina, click here.

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