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By: Tammy Showalter, Freelance Journalist
Social Distancing for Lake Lariat as well
Samples are taken biweekly between May 15 on through September 15 at Lake Lariat, the artificial Lake located within the Chesapeake Ranch Estates community. Only members are permitted in this area and the Lake is now temporarily closed.
The Calvert County Health Department alerted the public via Facebook on Thursday, July 10, 2020. There has been a history of water quality due to the agricultural runoff. Algae blooms and high levels of mercury have been found in the past as stated on www.theswimguide.org.
As reported on the Health Department’s post, toxin measurements are currently 30 times higher than what is considered safe for human contact. The lower water levels may be a contributing factor for the algae that is accumulating in the lake. Higher temperatures are also causing the spread.
Calvert County Director of Environmental Health, Matt Cumers said via email, “The plan moving forward is to sample again in the near future and continue to partner with the POACRE [Property Owners Association of Chesapeake Ranch Estates] and MDE [Maryland Department of the Environment] to protect public health. If we continue to see high levels of toxin, we will recommend the beach stay closed for swimming and other activities involving direct water contact.”
Cumers stated that he is unaware of any illnesses that are linked to the toxin at Lake Lariat.
“We would like to encourage the public to avoid water contact activities in Lake Lariat until such time that the water quality improves substantially. We will continue to release information as we receive it.” Cumers said.
Other Lusby beaches such as Driftwood, Drum Point and Seahorse are open as well as Flag Ponds in St. Leonard. As a reminder, we’re still in the midst of a Pandemic with COVID-19. Follow all health guidelines of your county Health
The Health Department Facebook page stated, We are very concerned for the well-being of the citizens who use this lake [Lake Lariat] for recreational purposes as well as for their pets. This toxin poses a health risk to humans and pets both through contact and ingestion pathways.
Signs are posted to alert the public. The Health Department will be scheduled to take more samples in the near future and will share them with the public.