UPDATE 6/15 SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. (WFXR) — A new round of testing was done on June 13, and the results should be available the week of June 19.

The Smith Mountain Lake Association has also set up an informational webpage to track bloom test results and to provide answers to questions about the algae bloom.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) warns individuals to avoid part of Smith Mountain Lake due to positive testing of harmful algal bloom present in the water.

This alga is specifically impacting the Blackwater River arm of Smith Mountain Lake in Bedford, Franklin, and Pittslyvania counties.

Officials say the blooms have produced a blue-greenish discoloration and the algal scum should be avoided.

They say it is safe to boat through the area with caution, but you are advised not to swim in the water until the area is tested again. Dogs should also avoid the water at this time.

The VDH warns that some harmful algae can cause skin rashes and gastrointestinal illnesses, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The VDH offers the following tips to prevent illness: 

  • Avoid contact with any area of the lake where scums are present or water is green or blue-green or an advisory sign is posted, WHEN IN DOUBT, STAY OUT! 
  • Do not allow children or pets to drink from natural bodies of water. 
  • Keep children and pets out of the areas experiencing a harmful algal bloom and quickly wash them off with plenty of fresh, clean water after contact with algal scum or bloom water. 
  • Seek medical/veterinarian care if you or your animals experience symptoms after swimming in or near an algal bloom. 
  • Properly clean fish by removing skin and discarding all internal organs and cook fish to the proper temperature to ensure fish fillets are safe to eat.  
  • 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 www.SwimHealthyVA.com to learn more about harmful algal blooms or to report an algal bloom or fish kill. 

To learn more information about harmful algal blooms, visit vdh.virginia.gov.