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Charleston Water System urges caution after algae bloom found in Goose Creek Reservoir

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kayaker.jpg (copy)

Charlie Tisdale paddles his kayak in the Goose Creek Reservoir last summer. Officials are now suggesting people and pets stay clear of the reservoir after an algae bloom was identified in the water. File/Lauren Petracca/Staff

HANAHAN — The Charleston Water System is urging caution after an algae bloom capable of producing toxins was identified in the Goose Creek Reservoir. 

Toxins have not yet been confirmed, and results from a test by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control will be available next week.

Algae blooms can occur when water temperature increases in a body of water  during warmer months. Blue-green algae was was found in the reservoir in Hanahan.

People and pets could get sick when coming in contact with a harmful bloom through swimming, fishing, inhaling tiny water droplets, drinking affected water or eating fish. So DHEC and the water system are encouraging folks to avoid the reservoir until further notice. But those who do interact with it should be cautious. 

Drinking water is still deemed safe as the reservoir is not used as a drinking water source, according to a news release. 

"Our most recent algae bloom on the Goose Creek Reservoir was about a year or two ago, but it didn't rise to the level of concern we're seeing today," said Mike Saia, a spokesman for the water system.

Saia said there has never been a detection of toxins in the reservoir above the DHEC and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's surface water advisory levels. 

If DHEC detects toxins following testing of the current algae bloom, information will be posted on the agency's website. The water system will also take steps to notify the public, the release said. 

Risk of algae blooms can be reduced by carefully applying fertilizers and preventing soil erosion in ditches and creeks that feed water bodies,

Follow Shamira McCray on Twitter @ShamiraTweets.

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