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Potentially toxic algae bloom prompts health advisory for Triadelphia Reservoir

People who kayak, canoe or hike along the Triadelphia Reservoir in Montgomery and Howard counties should stay out of the water or rinse with fresh water because of a potentially harmful algae bloom, according to WSSC Water.

The reservoir supplies water to WSSC Water, which serves Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, but drinking water is not affected, said spokeswoman Lyn Riggins. The utility is testing for the algae at its Patuxent water filtration plant as a precaution, she said.

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The cyanobacteria bloom, known as blue-green algae, is common in stagnant water this time of year with warmer temperatures and higher levels of nutrients from runoff, Riggins said.

Swimming is not allowed in the reservoir. Pets also should be prevented from drinking the water or swimming in it, the utility said.

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Boaters or kayakers who must step into the reservoir to launch — motorized boats aren’t permitted — should bring fresh water to rinse off their legs, Riggins said. Fillets from fish caught in the reservoir also should be rinsed with fresh water, and all fish organs should be thrown out.

The algae can cause a rash, gastrointestinal and respiratory problems, and hay fever-like symptoms, Riggins said.

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