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Tiogue Lake Blue Green Algae Returns

[CREDIT: EPA] Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, produce toxins that are hazardous to humans and animals.

[CREDIT: EPA] Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, produce toxins that are hazardous to humans and animals.
[CREDIT: EPA] Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, produce toxins that are hazardous to humans and animals.
COVENTRY, RI — Tiogue Lake Blue Green Algae blooms are back, and the toxic waters have also been found at Cranston’s Upper Reservoir and South Kingston’s Worden Pond, state officials report.

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) advise people to avoid contact with Worden Pond in South Kingstown,  Briar Point Beach on Tiogue Lake in Coventry, and J.L Curran Upper Reservoir in Cranston, due to blue-green algae (or cyanobacteria) bloom in the ponds.

State officials also reported the toxins at Tiogue Lake during the summer, in June, lifting the warning after a few weeks.

Blue-green algae can produce toxins that can harm humans and animals. Toxins and/or high cell counts have been detected in the pond by the RIDOH State Health Laboratories from water samples collected by DEM. All recreation, including swimming, fishing, boating, and kayaking, should be avoided. People should not ingest water or eat fish from the pond. Pets can also be affected by exposure to the algal toxins and thus owners should not allow pets to drink or swim in the water. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

People who have had contact with these ponds and experience those symptoms should contact their healthcare provider. 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 algae off 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.

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.

Blue-green algae can produce toxins that can harm humans and animals and toxins were present in recent samples at both sites.

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 blue-green algae 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.

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].

To report suspected blue-green algae blooms, contact RIDEM’s Office of Water Resources at 222-4700 or [email protected]

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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