Algae blooms in Pickens County

Algae blooms in Pickens County

PICKENS COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) - "There's some gunky junk that you're shooting right here for sure," said Mark Bishop, gazing over his backyard lake this afternoon.

As the day wore on and the temperature rose, the smell, and layer of slime on the surface, couldn't be ignored. 
 
"By the end of the day--this whole area right here will look pretty much just like this," Bishop told FOX Carolina. 
 
Bishop has lived in Anderson County for 39 years, and been elected to the 3 and 20 Watershed Board for 12 of them.
 
"[We] noticed them, didn't really know what they were, and didn't think a whole lot about it," he said. 
 
Bishop is talking about algae blooms--thousands of them--blanketing the lake behind his home.
 
"What you're videotaping out here on the water continued to grow and spread...and now it's completely covering this lake, which is about 32 acres," he explained. 
 
It didn't always used to be this way. Bishop says it's gotten worse the last 5 years, but it was a headline about 3 dogs in North Carolina dying from toxic algae this week that raised his red flag. 
 
"That's kind of what really made us think a little hard about what's going on here," he said. 
 
FOX Carolina reached out to DHEC, who say the only current body of water with known toxic 'blue-green' algae is in Fairfield County. But that's not stopping neighbors like Bishop and his wife from keeping their animals and themselves out until tests are done. 
 
"We were concerned about our own property--but I think it's much bigger than that," he said.
 
Bishop also told Fox Carolina he's concerned pollution might also be a factor, and points out the fact that this is a flowing lake, moving gradually to places like Anderson--where 200,000 depend on it to be safe. 
 
"We're concerned that, not only what's happening here is a problem, but what's going to happen downstream," he sad. 
 
Earlier this week, the Savannah River keeper also warned midlands residents to exercise caution after toxic lake algae was found just over the state line in Augusta. 
 
"I do think it's a bigger issue than just scum on our lake," said Bishop. "There's a lot of work that needs to be done to look into what's going on and why."

Copyright 2019 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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