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Harmful algal bloom advisory issued for part of Smith Mountain Lake

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, VA – The Blackwater River portion of Smith Mountain Lake in Bedford, Franklin, and Pittsylvania counties is experiencing a harmful algal bloom.

This caused the Virginia Department of Health to issue an advisory asking the public to avoid contact with the water until algal concentrations return to acceptable levels.

VDH said the reported blooms have produced blue/green discoloration and algal scums that should be avoided.

Some harmful algae, called cyanobacteria, can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, according to VDH.

The area to avoid can be seen on an interactive map here.​

Sample results from collections on June 1 indicated a swimming advisory is necessary due to unsafe levels of cyanobacteria, which have the potential to produce multiple toxins.

Health officials said toxin results at these sites are pending, but will not change the advisory.

People and pets are advised to avoid swimming and doing any activities that pose a risk of ingesting water in this area.

Boating may continue with proper precaution in the advisory area, according to VDH.

Follow-up samples indicating algae and toxins are below levels of concern are necessary to lift the advisory and dates of the next sampling are to be determined.

A status report may be viewed here.​

You should contact the Harmful Algal Bloom Hotline at 1-888-238-6154 if you suspect you experienced health-related effects following exposure to a bloom.

Visit to learn more about harmful algal blooms or to report one.

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