Published:
August 31, 2017
New warning as 'toxic' blue-green algae is confirmed at Apex Park

The Environment Agency has confirmed that potentially toxic blue-green algae has been found in a lake at Apex Park in Highbridge, prompting a new warning to park users to avoid getting close to the water.

Extra warning signs are being installed around the lake by Sedgemoor District Council, which has also urged park users to stay away from the water.

Sedgemoor District Council's Teresa Harvey told Burnham-On-Sea.com on Thursday evening (August 31st): "The Environment Agency has confirmed that there is blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which could potentially be toxic, at Apex Park."

"The council's Clean Surroundings team will carry out regular inspections of the lake to monitor any changes and ensure adequate signage is in place around the lake perimeter."

She added: "Our advice continues to be that dogs should not be allowed to drink, swim or paddle in the water. Also, fishing is not permitted, fish caught from the water should not be eaten, swimming is not allowed, all contact with the water should be avoided, and notices surrounding the water should be observed and abided."

"Anyone who has come into contact with the water containing blue-green algae should wash with fresh water immediately."

"Anyone who has come into contact with the affected water and has become ill should obtain urgent medical attention."

As first reported here by Burnham-On-Sea.com, the algae has been growing across the water surface of the lake next to the main car park during the past few days, helped by the recent hot weather.



Teresa Harvey added: "Public Health have been notified in case they have any admissions relating to exposure to the algae. The EA will continue to monitor the situation and the EA will sample it again and weekly after that until the bloom subsides."

Blue-green algae is toxic to animals and people, added council spokeswoman Claire Faun.

She told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Algae occur naturally in inland waters such as rivers, streams and lakes. When conditions are ideal for growth (i.e. a period of hot weather) an algal bloom can occur. During a bloom, the water becomes less clear and may look green, blue-green or greenish-brown. Scums can form during calm weather when several bloom forming species rise to the surface. This can look like paint, mousse or small clumps."

"Cyanobacteria or ‘blue-green algae’, a type of blooming algae, can produce toxins. These toxins can kill wild animals, livestock and pets. They can also harm people, producing rashes after skin contact and illnesses if swallowed."

"Algal blooms block sunlight from reaching other plants in the water. They also use up oxygen in the water at night which can suffocate fish and other creatures. Oxygen is also used up when the bloom decays."

"The blooms usually occur in the summer but there are no quick or easy remedies for the control of blue-green algae once they appear in a lake or pond."

"Not all blue-green algae blooms and scums are toxic but it is not possible to tell from appearance and so it’s best to assume they are harmful and take several precautions."

Pictured: The algae outbreak at Apex Park in Highbridge this week

 


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