Forget the sharks. One NC coastal county on alert for the green-blue water

Roger Winstead

Forget the sharks and the venomous snakes found in abundance in far eastern North Carolina.

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is urging the public to avoid contact with the green and blue water in the Chowan River in Chowan County. That’s on the Albemarle Sound.

And you should definitely keep pets out of it.

The strange coloration is being caused by an algae bloom, reports The Daily Advance, and it extends along the eastern side of the river, then continues east hugging the shoreline.

A state reports says there have been no documented reports of people getting sick or dying from the algae in North Carolina. But it can produce toxins that are potentially harmful, causing illnesses in humans and have been attributed to the death of pets and livestock.

The algae has also been spotted in Edenton, where the downtown Edenton bay looks like green tea with a pungent smell, reports the Daily Advance. “Like plastic wrap, a green film covers the top of the water,” the newspaper wrote.

State officials say the algal blooms usually appear bright green, but change to a milky blue when blooms start to decay. That’s also when it starts to smell bad, reported the Daily Advance.

Chowan County Manager Kevin Howard said several groups are gathering data to find the cause, it was reported. Similar blooms appeared on the river in 2015 and 2016, it was reported.