Health officials warn of dangerous algae blooms in Chowan River


CHOWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) — Don’t go swimming in the Chowan River in North Carolina. State officials have issued a warning for part of the waterway after finding high levels of algae blooms.

Algae blooms in the water produce a dangerous toxin that can make people and pets sick.

The area of the river that’s most concerning is called Arrowhead Beach in the northern part of Chowan County. Hundreds of people live along the river, including Gary Williams.

“(Health officials) say don’t eat the fish! We’ve pulled tons of them out there and we just won’t do it anymore.”

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Health Quality has been monitoring the situation and will continue to do so until levels are back to normal. Blooms grow when there are changes in temperature, acidity and the amount of sunlight.

Williams longs for the way the river used to be.

“It’s really bad. We bought this house 23 years ago and it was wonderful. You could go to the end of the pier and look down and see the bottom, but now with this algae it’s terrible.”

So far, health officials have not gotten any reports of anyone getting sick from the blooms. 10 On Your Side will stay on top of this and let you know when the water is safe again.

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