Boaters, swimmers, hikers and their pets should avoid two areas of Lake Norman this weekend due to a raw sewage spill and the spread of a toxic weed that killed at least four dogs in N.C. and Georgia lakes last year.
About 200 gallons of untreated sewage may have spilled into the lake in the 2300 block of Smith Harbour Drive in Denver, Lincoln County Health Director Lena Jones said in a water advisory alert at 5 p.m. Friday.
That’s off N.C. 16 on the western shores of the lake.
A sewage lift station failed, sending the sewage into the water, Jones said.
The area may be contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria, she said.
“Residents and lake users are advised not to swim or otherwise have bodily contact in that area,” Jones said.
No-swimming signs were scheduled to be posted in the area, and a public notification message was sent to nearby properties, she said.
Workers at a county treatment plant that serves the area are taking water samples and will notify the county Public Works Department when it’s safe to swim and boat again, Jones said.
Updates will be posted at www.LincolnCountyNC.gov.
Residents in the Cornelius area of the lake, meanwhile, said Friday they’re concerned about the spread of toxic blue-green algae where they live, Charlotte Observer news partner WSOC reported.
The algae has infested about 10 acres of the lake, resident Bob Watson told the station. Lake Norman covers 31,880 acres in Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Iredell and Catawba counties.
A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at The Peninsula Club, 19101 Peninsula Club Drive in Cornelius.
Residents have asked the state to pay to remove the algae, but until that happens, they’re raising donations to hire someone, Watson told WSOC.
“We got to deal with it before it gets out of hand,” he said.
Keep kids and pets away, official says
Most algae blooms are harmless, a Mecklenburg County official told The Charlotte Observer during an outbreak of the algae in two Lake Wylie coves in 2022.
Still, it’s impossible to know which are dangerous just by looking at them, said Rusty Rozzelle, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services’ water quality program manager.
So it’s best not to swim, boat, kayak, fish, Jet-Ski, water-ski or wade through any of them, he said.
“Pets and children are at a higher risk of exposure, so keep them away from water that appears discolored or scummy,” Rozzelle said.