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June 2012
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Toxic algae returns to some lakes

Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - State and federal officials have posted advisories about elevated levels of toxic algae in some Kentucky lakes.

The Courier-Journal reports the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Louisville says it has five lakes in Kentucky with elevated levels while the Kentucky Division of Water has one.

Most of the lakes were put in a "caution" category, which means the water poses a moderate risk of adverse health effects. Exposure could cause skin or eye irritation, nausea and flu-like symptoms.

"We would want people to think about whether they would feel comfortable with a moderate risk of experiencing health effects," said Jade Young, a biologist and water quality specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The lakes with caution advisories include Taylorsville Lake, where a toxic blue-green algae bloom was found for the first time in 2012.

Kentucky Division of Water Director Peter Goodman says the state and federal officials are using satellite images to help find the blue-green algae in bodies of water. He says the images are used as a screening tool and water samples are taken to verify accuracy.

"We believe we can make accurate predictions, as to what the conditions are," Goodman said. "Not just for whole lakes, but to narrow it to certain areas (of lakes)."

The federal Environment Protection Agency has said toxic algae blooms usually occur in slow moving water that is exposed to sunlight and has too many nutrients.

Javan Montgomery, who runs the Taylorsville Lake Marina, said alerts last year scared some people away and hurt business.

"We need to do more testing in order to be sure we are issuing the proper advisories," Montgomery said.

"And if the water quality is not something we like, we need to know what we can do to make it better."

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