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The Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment's Division of Environmental Quality advised the public on Friday to avoid contact with a harmful algal bloom reported on Lake Hamilton at the outlet of Little Mazarn Creek near Marion Anderson Road.

"A HAB looks like spilled paint, pea soup, floating scum, green sheens, clumps or streaks. Swimming, wading, and water activities are not recommended in the areas where this is visibly present," DEQ said in a news release.

"Exposure to these toxins may result in headaches, weakness, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, kidney damage, and abdominal pain," the release said.

People and pets should avoid direct contact and avoid swallowing water in areas where HABs are present, DEQ's release said.

"Concentrations of the toxin microcystin from samples taken were 10 parts per billion (ppb), which is above the recommended human health criteria of 8 ppb," the release said.

DEQ said it has notified the lake owner of the occurrence and of the laboratory results. The water in Lake Hamilton is owned by the state. Entergy Arkansas is obligated to numerous responsibilities for managing the dams, lakes and shoreline under its license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, according to its website.

Anyone who suspects they have seen HAB should avoid contact with the water and report it by emailing DEQ at [email protected] or calling 501-682-0744. More information is available at https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/water/pdfs/HAB-ResponsePlan-Manual-bookmarks-2019-12-12- Final.pdf.

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