Fish Loss Detected by Spartanburg Water Watershed Staff in Isolated Areas on Lake Bowen

March 30th 2023

As part of their strategic reservoir management strategy, Spartanburg Water conducted a planned algaecide application with a licensed contractor at Lake Bowen and Municipal Reservoir #1 on Thursday. The application serves to address one of the naturally occurring compounds released by algae in the reservoirs. 

This specific compound, called Geosmin,  is produced by specific types of algae regularly found in lakes and rivers.  Geosmin, while harmless, can produce an earthy, musty taste and/or smell for drinking water if not addressed.  

Following Thursday’s algaecide application to address Geosmin, Spartanburg Water watershed staff noticed small, one-inch and two-inch sized Shad on the surface of two small coves near the Lake Bowen Dam, two to three-hours after the final application was completed on Thursday. 

“I was on the lake with our watershed team from about 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. this evening looking for signs that other species of fish or locations had been negatively impacted by the application,” said Spartanburg Water CEO, Guy Boyle.  “We in turn saw no indications that any additional areas outside of the two coves located near the Lake Bowen Dam had any fish losses. There are no signs that larger game fish or aquatic wildlife have been impacted.”

“Algaecide treatments are planned periodically throughout the year with input from professionally licensed algaecide applicators, consultants and Spartanburg Water staff in order to help remove the algae that can cause taste and odor compounds like Geosmin within the reservoirs,” added Boyle. 

The fish loss event and all data gathered by Spartanburg Water staff were reported within hours to both the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) for further review.   

Says Boyle, “Spartanburg Water takes our role as environmental stewards and water professionals very seriously, and any algaecide treatment process that results in a negative outcome for wildlife will be reviewed in detail to find out what may have caused the negative results.  Our watershed team will be out on the reservoirs at first light to continue our inspection in order to ensure that no other areas have been adversely affected.”

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