The toxic algae bloom on the Ohio River is spreading, and now other areas of the Ohio Valley are urging boaters and swimmers to keep clear.
There are two specific areas the Monroe County Health Department is warning people about that tested positive for the algae.
Sunfish Creek in Clarington, a tributary of the Ohio River is covered in a green smile. The Monroe County Health Department has posted signs people and pets are advised not to touch or drink the water.
“We just urge residents to stay out of the water. If a child or a pet happens to get in it, wash with soap and water as quickly as possible. And if they get at all sick, seek medical attention,” said John Shreve, the Director of Environmental Health.
The health department isn’t empowered to shut down the docks. They said the marina at Duffy is shut down for renovations anyway. But at both Duffy and Clarington, the EPA has confirmed high concentrations of toxicity.
“When they tested this one, it was at 40. 20 is considered toxic,” Shreve said. “The other one was at 250 and once again, 20 is considered toxic.”
In Clarington, one man’s dock on his own property is equally slimy, with a green cast to the water, and blue where it has dried on the shore.
The algae can also make people sick, with symptoms ranging from a itch, to a rash, to stomach problems and nervous system problems.
Shreve said it’s actually fortunate that it looks so disgusting, because it naturally discourages people from swimming, water skiing or boating. He said if it were invisible, he thinks a lot of people would be getting sick.