WARWICK, RI — Little Pond blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) levels have subsided as temperatures and sunlight fade, state officials report, with the effect also improving toxic water conditions in Glocester/Greenville, Cranston, and South Kingstown.
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) also recommend lifting the recreational advisories at Waterman Reservoir in Glocester/Greenville, Blackamore Pond in Cranston, and Indian Lake in South Kingstown. Almy Pond in Newport, Roger Williams Park Ponds in Providence, J.L. Curran Upper Reservoir, Spectacle Pond, and Mashapaug Pond in Cranston remain under advisory due to continued visual evidence of blue-green algae.
Blue-green algae are generally less active as seasonal changes reduce light and temperature in the winter. However, the possibility of recurring blooms and/or toxins represent potential risks, even in iced-over conditions, according to the update on the growths provided by the RI Department of Health. The monitoring, performed by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has ended for the year, but officials warn people should still keep an eye out for the growths.
“Regardless of season, the public is reminded to avoid contact with any body of water that is bright green or has a dense, floating scum. Blue-green algae blooms may look like green paint or thick pea soup,” RIDOH noted in its latest statement.
Beware of unreported blue-green algae blooms
Blue-green algae blooms may also be affecting other waterbodies in Rhode Island. People are advised to avoid contact with waterbodies that exhibit bright green coloration in the water or at the water surface and/or dense floating algal mats that form on the water’s surface. The water may look like green paint, thick pea soup, or green cottage cheese.
For more information and a list of current and historical advisories, go to www.dem.ri.gov/bluegreen Please send reports of suspected blue-green algae blooms, along with photographs, if possible to [email protected].
People, animals at risk in toxic waters
People should be careful not to ingest water or eat fish from the ponds. All recreation, including fishing, boating, and kayaking, should be avoided. Animals who may ingest pond water are especially at risk from exposure to the algal toxins, so owners should not allow pets to drink or swim in the water. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice.
Skin contact with water containing blue-green algae commonly causes irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and/or throat. Common health effects associated with ingesting water containing algal toxins include stomach-ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Rarer health effects include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage. Young children and pets are at a particular risk for health effects associated with algal toxins. People who have had contact with pond waters and experience those symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.
What to do if you contact blooms in lakes & ponds
If you come into contact with the water, rinse your skin with clean water as soon as possible and, when you get home, take a shower and wash your clothes. Similarly, if your pet comes into contact with the water, immediately wash your pet with clean water. Do not let the animal lick its fur. Call a veterinarian if your animal shows any symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning, including loss of energy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or any unexplained sickness that occurs within a day or so after being in contact with water. People are cautioned that toxins may persist in the water after the blue-green algae bloom is no longer visible.
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