FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2019
Contact: Mark Rogers
Water and Sewer Operations Manager
Due to Recent Weather, Harmful Algae May Be Present at Lake Fayetteville
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.— Most residents and visitors know Lake Fayetteville Park as a destination for fishing, birdwatching, hiking, biking, and participating in recreational programs. Lake Fayetteville also serves as an education and research facility for the University of Arkansas’s Arkansas Water Resources Center (AWRC), Springdale and Fayetteville Public Schools (Lake Fayetteville Environmental Study Center), Lake Fayetteville Watershed Partnership, and others.
A first-year engineering honors team from the University has been monitoring algae at Lake Fayetteville. In early May, several water samples were taken and sent for testing. Results from one sample showed 11 micrograms per liter of microcystin. Measurements over 10 micrograms per liter require notification to the public and appropriate organizations. New samples have been taken and researchers are awaiting lab results. A public notification, like this one, will be released when microcystin levels have diminished.
Microcycstin is an algae toxin released during decay of some algae types when present in a large group (called a “bloom”). The spring’s heavy and frequent rain storms combined with lake’s nutrient levels and recent warm temperatures have encouraged rapid growth of algae, creating an algae bloom. Rain washes landscaping fertilizers, which contain nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, downstream into Lake Fayetteville.
As a safety measure, visitors to Lake Fayetteville should do the following:
- avoid areas of algae accumulation
- use caution when contacting lake water and wash with clean, treated water afterwards
- not let pets eat dried algae or be in lake water since they tend to drink it
- clean fish well and properly dispose guts
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says there are relatively few documented cases of severe human health effects. If inhalation or ingestion occurs by a human or pet – watch for symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, rash, irritated eyes, seizures, breathing problems, or other unexplained illness and contact a doctor or veterinarian.
City officials remind residents and businesses to be aware of materials such as fertilizers, petroleum products, detergents, etc. that rain washes into our natural waterways and infrastructure. Learn more stormwater management and water quality at the City’s website here.