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The original item was published from 9/5/2018 7:56:26 AM to 9/14/2018 5:05:02 PM.

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Posted on: September 5, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Recreational Water Use Advisory for White Pond


The Concord Health Division has issued a recreational water use advisory for White Pond due to a bloom of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae).  The bloom appears as a floating green or blue-green scum or area of discolored water (see pictures below).  Concentrated patches of the bloom may accumulate along the shoreline.  At other times, the bloom may not be visible near the shoreline as it may shift around the pond due to wind and weather conditions. Cyanobacteria blooms may produce toxins that can make pets and people sick.

The Concord Board of Health strongly advises IF YOU OBSERVE AN ALGAE BLOOM:  

  • Do not swim 
  • People and pets should avoid contact in areas of algae concentration- even on shore
  • 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.    

Blue-green algae can form harmful blooms in lakes, ponds, and rivers that make the water murky, and can sometimes make the water look like pea soup or paint. 

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 observed due to the ingestion of harmful algae.

When will this advisory be lifted?

Algae blooms may last for weeks in the summer and early fall, or may disappear quite quickly.  Town staff will regularly observe White Pond for the presence of a visible algae bloom over the coming weeks.   

For more information, call the Concord Board of Health at 978 318 3275 

or visit the Health Division website for more information:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and US EPA websites provide further information on blue-green algae blooms:

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