Report an Algal Bloom

Discover how to gain notification about HABs and whom to contact if you've encountered an algal bloom or fish kill in Chesapeake Bay or nearby coastal waters.


The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will notify the public via their website and public announcements if monitoring agencies identify a HAB that could affect human health.


Expand the selections below for instructions on how to contact the proper authority based on your situation.

I have a HAB-related emergency or it's after business hours, a weekend, or a holiday

If you need to call outside of business hours (4:30 pm-8 am), on weekends or holidays, or for an emergency, dial Virginia's Department of Emergency Management at 800-468-8892 (calls will be forwarded to a DEQ responder).

I've encountered water with an odd odor or color, or a fish kill

To report smelly or odd-colored water, or a fish kill like those HABs may cause, you may use our online reporting form, or during business hours call:

The nearest regional office of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality: 
  • Virginia Beach: (757) 518-2000
  • Richmond: (804) 527-5020
  • Woodbridge: (703) 583-3800
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science:
  • Advisory Services Office: 804-684-7108
  • Dr. Kim Reece: 804-684-7407
  • Dr. Wolfgang Vogelbein: 804-684-7261
For after hours, weekend, and holiday calls, dial Virginia's Department of Emergency Management at 800-468-8892 (calls will be forwarded to a DEQ responder).
I believe I may have been exposed to a HAB

If you are concerned that you have been exposed to a HAB, see your doctor or call your local health department. Telling your doctor about contact with water may help proper treatment. You can also call the
 Virginia Department of Health's toll-free HABs Hotline at (888) 238-6154. The line is available 24-7.

I'm concerned a HAB may have affected my aquaculture operation

Download our Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Primer For the Virginia Shellfish Industry.

You may also ccontact Ms. Karen Hudson, Shellfish Aquaculture Specialist in the Marine Advisory Services program at VIMS via [[v|khudson,email]] or phone: 804-684-7742.

Virginia's HAB Task Force

VIMS monitors the Commonwealth's waters and shellfish-growing areas for the presence of HABs as part of Virginia's Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force, which also includes representatives from the Marine Resources Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality, Old Dominion University, and the Department of Health and its Waterbourne Hazards Control and Shellfish Safety.