September 5, 2017
Apex Park users missing warning signs about toxic algae in lake

A fresh warning has been issued to users of Apex Park in Highbridge to stay away from the lakes where there is a potentially toxic blue-green algae.

The Environment Agency confirmed last week that potentially toxic blue-green algae has been found in the lakes, prompting a warning to park users to avoid getting close to the water. Extra warning signs have been installed around the lake by Sedgemoor District Council, which has also urged park users to stay away from the water.

Highbridge district councillor Roger Keen told "I was concerned to visit Apex on Monday and find several people were unaware of the algae problem. Two people were fishing and said they didn't know anything about it, while several dog walkers were also unaware. We need to re-emphasize that the lake water is currently dangerous."

Sedgemoor District Council's Teresa Harvey told "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, 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 "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

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