LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say they have found more harmful algae blooms at Kentucky lakes this summer.
The Army Corps of Engineers says the blooms have been found at a total of four lakes — Rough River, Barren River, Taylorsville and Nolin. The blooms at Barren River and Taylorsville were reported earlier in the summer.
Federal and state officials told The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/168xZYs) that it is the first time this type of bloom has been detected in the state, though it has been documented in upper Midwest states, Ohio and Indiana.
The lakes, which combined draw about 5 million visitors annually, remain open.
Corp officials are urging people who use the lakes to take precautions including not swallowing water, washing well after swimming and removing skin from fish before eating it.
Corps spokesman Carol Labashosky said while the agency hasn't confirmed any sicknesses related to the water, it has fielded several reports including a pediatrician who said two siblings developed a rash and diarrhea after swimming in Taylorsville Lake.
"The public must be cautious and consider adverse health effects of a harmful algal bloom before water skiing, swimming or wading," Labashosky said.
Nolin Lake was the fourth to test positive for elevated harmful algae. Results came back on testing and corps officials began putting up signs last week.
Lake manager Chris Boggs said it prompted a few people to cancel campground reservations.
"Swimmers may have been down a little last weekend," he said, but overall there has been steady recreational use.
"The people I have spoken with, they are still coming to the lake, and they are just going by the precautions," Boggs said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says harmful algae blooms occur with slow-moving water that has too many nutrients and sunlight. Some are natural, but nutrients in the water can come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems and runoff containing fertilizer for farms and lawns.
The Kentucky Division of Water said this spring that it is developing a strategy to reduce nutrients.
Peter Goodmann, assistant director of the Kentucky Division of Water, said a draft plan may be complete by September.
Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com