A public health advisory continues to be in effect for White Pond due to an ongoing bloom of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). White Pond underwent a fourth round of weekly sampling on Monday, July 27. Results of these samples indicate that algal levels are again well above MDPH (Massachusetts Department of Public Health) guidelines for recreational water use.
According to MDPH guidelines, two samples collected a week apart with levels below MDPH’s guidelines are required before the advisory should be lifted. While samples taken on July 20 were below the acceptable limit of 70,000 cells/mL, samples taken Monday July 27 were found to have 130,000 cells/ml, almost twice the acceptable limit. MDPH recommends that the current recreational water use advisory remain in place.
MDPH will continue to sample the pond weekly on Mondays and results are generally received by the following Wednesday. A notice will be posted on the town’s website News and Notices section as soon as the advisory is lifted, and warning signs will be removed from the pond shore. The algae bloom is still visible and may appear as a yellow to mustard-yellow floating scum or as an oily sheen. Scums of algal cells may be washed up on the shoreline and may appear yellow or red-brown. Avoid contact with all. Cyanobacteria blooms may produce toxins that can make pets and people sick.
The Concord Board of Health strongly advises:
Do not swim.
Do not allow your pet to swim in or drink the water. Rinse pets and children off immediately if they come into contact with an algae bloom.
Avoid contact with areas of algae concentration- even on shore. Do not swallow water and be sure to rinse off after contact.
Blue-green algae blooms can produce toxins that can make pets and people sick. Toxins may be present within the algae cells or in the water. For humans, the primary concern is ingestion of water containing blue-green algae while swimming. Of secondary concern is direct skin contact with the blue-green algae and inhalation of water droplets containing blue-green algae or toxins. For pets, the primary concern is the ingestion of water containing blue-green algae or scum that has washed ashore or gotten onto their skin or fur. Contact can cause skin and eye irritation, and inhalation can cause respiratory irritation and exacerbate pre-existing respiratory conditions.
Toxins are not absorbed through the skin. Ingestion of blue-green algae can cause acute gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea. If the blue-green algae are producing toxin(s), the health effects can be more serious, especially for small pets due to their smaller body weights. Ingestion of the toxins can cause acute gastrointestinal distress and, depending on the specific toxin, can affect the functioning of the liver, kidneys, and/or neurological systems and in severe cases can result in death.
PETS--Call your vet immediately if your pet has been around an algae bloom and shows symptoms such as vomiting, staggering, drooling, or convulsions. These symptoms present themselves fairly quickly after exposure. Animals of most concern are dogs. They have been known to eat the scum that washes ashore and/or lick scum out of their fur. In Massachusetts and in many other states, canine fatalities have been documented due to the ingestion of harmful algae. For more information, call the Concord Board of Health at 978 318 3275.