Algae blooms cause problems for parts of the Chowan River

Algae blooms cause problems for parts of the Chowan River
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 7:29 PM EDT
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EDENTON, N.C. (WITN) - The summer heat is causing problems for parts of the Chowan River in Edenton. Algae blooms have popped up in several of the river’s tributaries and ponds.

Algae blooms are a cause for concern because blue-green algae can produce toxins that are dangerous to both humans and animals. UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City studies various aspects of algae and algal blooms including how they can affect us.

Ph-D Student Haley Plaas takes not only water samples at the sites of the blooms but also air samples so they can see if these toxins in the algae can become airborne.

”Looking to see if these little critters in the water go airborne and we’re looking to quantify the concentration of the toxins in blue-green algae in the air in order to investigate whether or not this is a potential respiratory threat for people recreating and using this water,” said Plaas.

Her work is still in its early stages and Plaas says they will continue sampling for the next several years.

In the meantime scientists say they know drinking or swimming in water affected by one of these events can be dangerous and they strongly encourage people not to swim, drink, or eat fish in those areas.

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