Amid concerns and questions from several readers, KLPW asked both state and federal officials about the water quality for swimming and public use, both in general and with regard to recent applications of herbicides to squelch the growing hydrilla problem.

Below is a direct reply from the USACE manager of Kerr Lake who KLPW asked two questions: 1) Is Kerr Lake safe for swimming and interaction with the water and 2) are the chemicals sprayed for hydrilla harmful?  Here are the answers:

1) Yes, Kerr Lake is safe for swimming. There are no health advisories/warnings issued from the state regarding swimming in Kerr Lake. The Corps tests for Fecal Coliform (E. Coli) at all of our swim beaches. This testing is not a state standard or requirement but rather a Corps policy to ensure the health of our visitors. VADEQ and NCDENR are responsible for monitoring overall water quality in the reservoir. They sample dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, bacteria, heavy metals in fish tissue, etc. and issue any health advisories accordingly.

2) Are the chemicals sprayed for hydrilla in any way harmful to human? All chemicals have EPA approved application guidelines and if applied accordingly by a certified applicator they will not pose human or environmental hazards. Once a herbicide is diluted according to label instructions for application into an aquatic environment, herbicides labeled for aquatic use are considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Michael T. Womack
Operations Project Manager
John H. Kerr Reservoir

Posted in: KLPW - Camping Safety, KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - Water Safety

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