About 5,000 fish have died because of algaecides applied to Hartwell Lake in an effort to improve the region’s drinking water. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the state’s public-health agency are investigating the fish kill, which affects the area around the Anderson Joint Regional Water System’s intake on the lake.
160 acres of the lake was treated with algaecides to try to improve the taste and smell of customers’ drinking water. The Copper and hydrogen peroxide based algaecide was applied in granular form and in concentrations low enough not to harm fish or people.
The algaecide was applied in accordance with regulations approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Officials believe it “is likely a one-time event” and that the water is “safe for human and wildlife exposure.” Although, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers were not surprised by the fish kill. “Small Fish are susceptible to dying when they come in contact with algaecides.”