SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. (WFXR) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has announced the harmful algal bloom (HAB) advisory in the Upper Blackwater River arm of Smith Mountain Lake has been lifted.

After recent samples collected became contaminated, new samples taken from the lake on August 15th showed acceptable levels of algae, allowing the VDH) to lift the advisory from the upper inundated areas of the Blackwater River to its confluence with Gills Creek.

It is advised that swimmers should continue to avoid any water that has an odd smell, any discoloration, or any dead fish. Otherwise, normal recreational activities may resume.

VDH says that most algal species are harmless and that blooms can occur “when warm water and nutrients combine to make conditions favorable for algal growth.” However, harmful algal blooms produce irritating compounds or toxins.

Avoid discolored water or scums with green or bluish-green coloration. They may contain toxins. 

To prevent illness, people should: 

  • Avoid contact with any area of the lake where scums are present, WHEN IN DOUBT, STAY OUT! 
  • Not allow children or pets to drink from natural bodies of water. 
  • Always cleanse skin, clothing, and your pet’s fur after swimming in the lake with plenty of fresh, clean soapy water.
  • Properly clean fish by removing skin discarding all internal organs and cook fish to the proper temperature to ensure fish fillets are safe to eat.  
  • Visit to learn more about harmful algal blooms or to report an algal bloom or fish kill. 

For more information visit