As the temperatures cool, the likelihood of algae blooms and associated water quality problems diminishes. Flowing through the sparsely populated northeast North Carolina, the Chowan River needs a break from being plagued by several blooms that raised health alerts from the State this summer.
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides guidance on the probability of adverse health effects due to cyanobacteria exposure. WHO cautions that moderate probability of adverse health effects with 100,000 cyanobacterial cells/ml. The prolonged bloom in the Chowan had cell counts 15 times that amount!
Clearly nutrient related water quality problems exist in the river. The severity of this bloom has put the river on the NC DEQ’s radar and the state will need to undertake pollution control protection for this sickened ecosystem.