EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Easthampton Health Department is informing residents of a possible cyanobacteria algae bloom in Rubber Thread Pond.
The health department said photos sent to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) confirmed the algae in the pond may exceed the amount of algae that is considered safe. It is recommended that residents and pets should avoid going into the pond.
The Massachusetts DPH will conduct sampling once the bloom is no longer evident. In order for the pond to be considered safe, two samples below the recommended amount must be taken, one week apart.
Easthampton Health Department said algae bloom can be caused by warm weather, sunlight, stormwater runoff, failing septic systems and excess nutrients in the water such as human or animal waste.
The City of Easthampton Board of Health advises the public to avoid swimming, fishing, kayaking, and boating.
The following health concerns depend on the type and amount of exposure:
- Contact with algae can cause skin and eye irritation
- Ingesting small amounts can cause gastrointestinal symptoms while large amounts can cause liver or neurological damage
- Inhaling water spray with algae in it can also cause asthma-like symptoms.
- Small children and pets are more susceptible to the effects of toxins than adults. Livestock and pet deaths from ingesting algal toxins have occurred. Dogs should be rinsed off immediately if they come into contact with an algae bloom
The Easthampton Health Department advises to immediately wash yourself or you pets with clean water and call your doctor if you come into contact with the algae.