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Posted 8/23/2013

Release no. 13-017

Lori Brewster


Carol Labashosky

CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY - The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is cautioning boaters and swimmers at Green River Lake about possible contact with a bloom of blue-green algae capable of producing toxins that can be especially harmful to small children, those with illness and animals.

Factors promoting algal growth include sunlight, warm weather, low turbulence, and nutrient sources such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Phosphorous is particularly important in fueling cyanobacteria growth.

The lake remains open to recreational users for swimming and boating but they should be aware of the possibility of adverse health impacts associated with contact with the water.  

Precautionary measures include:

  • Avoiding contact with visible algae and not swallowing water while swimming.
  • Taking a bath or shower with warm, soapy water after coming in contact with water in ponds and lakes, especially before preparing or consuming food.
  • Animals should also not be allowed to swim in or drink untreated water from these sources. Animals can be poisoned by the toxins produced by some algal blooms. Small animals can ingest a toxic dose quickly.
  • Dogs are particularly susceptible to blue-green algae poisoning because the scum can attach to their coats and be swallowed during self-cleaning.
  • Remove fish skin and organs before cooking; do not consume or allow animals to consume the organs or skin.

According to World Health Organization guidelines, the algal cell counts are at the cautionary level, and present a higher risk of causing adverse health effects for all people and animals that come in contact with the water. 

Clinical signs of blue green algae poisoning in animals include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, weakness, seizures and  in extreme levels of toxins, sudden death, especially in livestock.

The Corps of Engineers is working with the Kentucky Department of Water, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the Kentucky Department of Parks to:

  • Continue water quality monitoring and provide results to the public
  • Monitor any potential blooms on site at the lake
  • Post advisories at the lake in conspicuous places – either “advisory” (potential health affects) or “caution” (more significant risk of health impacts of HAB)
  • Keep boaters, swimmers and those who use the lake for recreation  informed of risks

Green River Lake provides water to Campbellsville and Columbia.  For specific inquiries about your drinking water quality, contact your utility office:

Campbellsville Water Company, 110 S. Columbia, Campbellsville, KY – (270) 465-3133 or

Columbia/Adair Utilities District, 109 Grant Lane, Columbia, KY – (270) 384-2181.

For information on harmful algal blooms and updates on the levels at Corps lakes, visit: http://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterInformation/HABs.aspx

For lake information and to keep up with what is happening at Green River Lake please visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Green River Lake on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-River-Lake-US-Army-Corps-of-Engineers-Louisville-District/262726117097820

For questions, please contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Green River Lake Office at

(270) 465-4463.