Health advisory for Mead’s Quarry Lake

Jay FitzOur Town Outdoors

Don’t go playing in a pink pond.

Mead’s Quarry Lake at Ijams Nature Center is experiencing a temporary bloom of Planktothrix rubescens, a cyanobacterium that produces microcystin, a metabolite that can be toxic to people and pets when in large enough concentration.

Amber Parker (file photo)

Ijams has posted a health advisory at the lake to warn people and pets not to swim or ingest the water, scum, foam or algae in the lake. This advisory will be in place until the bloom dissipates and microcystin levels decrease.

Strands of the bloom give the lake a slight pink coloration. Ijams learned of the bloom from University of Tennessee-Knoxville students and faculty conducting water quality tests at the lake as part of a class.

The nature center is working closely with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), which has verified the presence of high levels of microcystins and provided guidance on best practices for safety.

“Ijams is very fortunate to be able to collaborate with UTK faculty and state experts, who acted quickly to help us keep everyone safe,” Ijams President/CEO Amber Parker said. “I’m thankful we have such knowledgeable and helpful scientific experts so close at hand.”

Ijams is working to address the situation and will update information when microcystin levels are less than or equal to the state’s health advisory levels, the advisory is lifted, or there are any changes to the conditions of the lake.

Additional information may be found here


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