Blue-Green Algae Advisory for the Potomac

By Matthew Stabley
|  Tuesday, Aug 9, 2011  |  Updated 3:46 PM EDT
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An example of blue-green algae. If you see water that looks like this in the Potomac River, avoid it.

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Maryland’s departments of health and mental hygiene, environment, and natural resources warned the public Friday about blue-green algae in the Potomac River in Prince George’s and Charles counties.

Concentrations of the algae were reported in the Potomac south of the Mattawoman Creek and in the mouth of the Mattawoman where it meets the Potomac. People should avoid contact with the water in those areas.

The blue-green algae blooms often cause bright green water. Sometimes it looks like a green paint on the surface of the water.

Swallowing or having prolonged contact with the algae blooms can cause problems including like skin irritation and nausea due to a toxin in the algae. Those who do come in contact with the algae should wash it off with fresh water. If symptoms persist, see a doctor.

Maryland officials advised people avoid swimming or other water activities in those areas. Pets should be kept away, too.

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