Algae warning issued for Shenango Lake

shenango lake sharpsville hermitage pennsylvania algae bloom
Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

SHARPSVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – An advisory has been issued for people using Shenango Lake. Park officials found a blue-green algae bloom, with the potential to produce toxins.

It is the largest bloom at the lake in 50 years and was caused by fertilizer runoff after all that rain the area had earlier in the summer.

Park officials said the purpose of the advisory is to let people make an informed decision about whether they want to get into the water.

Boater Ed Koporc, who has been coming to Shenango Lake since 1977, said he is not worried about the potentially toxic algae bloom.

“We don’t swim in the lake and we don’t let our dog swim in the lake,” Koporc said.

Those are two of the things park officials are cautioning folks about. The algae bloom could produce toxins that are harmful to people and pets.
But park officials stress, the keyword there is could.

“Just because we have algae present does not mean it will produce toxins,” U.S. Army Resource Manager John Kolodziejski said.

Kolodziejski said a bloom like this is constantly changing. On Thursday morning, it surrounded the dock area, but by Thursday evening, the waters there were clear.

“Toxins can come and go. Actually, the whole bloom can come and go. It can change overnight,” Kolodziejski said.

This is the first bloom of its size in the lake’s 50 years.

“We do attribute it to the high amount of precipitation we received in June,” Kolodziejski said.

All that rain washed agricultural fertilizer into the lake, feeding the bloom. So far, tests for toxins have come back negative and there is no concern for local drinking water.

People just need to use common sense and stay away from any algae they spot.

Park officials said the advisory could be lifted as early as next Wednesday, which is the next time they will be testing water for algae.

For more information, you can visit the Center for Disease Control website.

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