News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Issues Recreational Water Advisory for Lake Edgar Brown in Barnwell County

August 19, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today issues a recreational water advisory for Lake Edgar Brown in Barnwell County after DHEC detected the presence of toxic bacteria. 

As part of DHEC’s routine monitoring of natural water bodies throughout the state, a water sample was collected August 18 and tested today with the results indicating that microcystins, which are toxins produced by cyanobacteria (formerly known as blue-green algae), are present in the northern portion of Lake Edgar Brown at 9.50 micrograms per liter (ug/L, or parts per billion). This is greater than the state’s water quality standard of 8 ug/L. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency names microcystins a potent liver toxin and possible human carcinogen. 

“Until further notice, no one should swim, wade or come into contact with the water or scum, foam or algae at Lake Edgar Brown,” said Bryan Rabon, DHEC’s Manager of Aquatic Science Programs with the Bureau of Water.

DHEC is working closely with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), which advises no fish from Lake Edgar Brown should be consumed until the recreational water advisory is lifted. DHEC and SCDNR are posting notice of the advisory on signs at various locations around the lake. 

Individuals are advised to seek medical attention if they or family members are experiencing illness after coming into contact with the water.  

Pets and livestock also may be vulnerable to adverse health effects of microcystins at the level detected at Lake Edgar Brown above. Contact a veterinarian if animals show signs of illness. 

DHEC will post updated information when the microcystin level is less than the state water quality standard and this advisory is lifted, or if there are changes to the conditions of this recreational advisory. 

For more information, please contact DHEC’s Bureau of Water at 803-898-8374. If calling after hours, leave a voicemail that can be returned.  For additional information about harmful algae in South Carolina, click here.  



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