A Maryland water agency issued a health advisory Thursday, warning boaters and fishers to stay away from the water because of potentially dangerous algae that can cause serious illness.
WSSC Water said it found high levels of cyanobacteria, known as blue-green algae, in reservoirs located on the Patuxent River in Montgomery and Howard counties. Drinking water from the reservoir is being closely monitored but so far it has not been affected and continues to meet water safety standards, said WSSC Water Spokesman Jerry Irvine.
The algae bloom is similar to that of September 2020 and occurs in stagnant water during the warmer months, Irvine said. People who drink or touch the reservoir may experience rashes, upset stomach, confusion, fatigue and numbness.
Because the lake also serves as a recreational area for hikers, boaters and water sports, the agency advised people to avoid touching the water when entering and launching boats or other boats or to rinse them immediately with clean water. Pets, which are not allowed in the reservoirs, are also not allowed to swim or drink the water, it said. Fish caught there should be washed thoroughly with drinking water, but fish livers or stomach organs should not be eaten, the agency said.
People or pets who touch or drink the water should contact the health department, Irvine said.