A public health advisory has been issued for White Pond due to a bloom of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) exceeding Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) recreational guidelines. These 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.
Avoid contact with areas of algae concentration- even on shore. Do not let children or pets play in the water where a visible shoreline algae bloom or scum is seen.
- Rinse pets and children off immediately if they come into contact with an algae bloom.
Do not swallow water and be sure to rinse off after contact.
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. The current bloom in White Pond as of June 17 appears as a mixed green/blue/mustard yellow floating scum along some areas of the pond edge. In other areas there is a visible blueish color in the water (see pictures of the current bloom at the bottom of next page).
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.
PETS--Call your veterinarian 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.
When will this advisory be lifted?
Algae blooms may last for weeks in the summer, or may disappear quite quickly. Town staff will regularly observe White Pond for the presence of a visible algae bloom over the coming days. The recreational water use advisory and no swimming guidance will remain in effect at least until the visible bloom and shoreline scum subsides. Water sampling will occur after the visible bloom subsides. MDPH recommends that the recreational water advisory not be lifted until two consecutive weekly samples show algal cell counts below the safe limit of 70,000 cells/milliliter of water.
For more information, call the Concord Board of Health at 978 318 3275
MA Department of Public Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US EPA websites provide further information on blue-green algae blooms: