Sunday, July 9, 2017

Toxic Algal Blooms Found In Park Water Bodies

Harmful algal toxic blooms have so far been discovered in four of the five boroughs. Algae Bloom Advisory signs were recently posted in around several water bodies including the Lake in Central Park and the Prospect Park Lake where high level of toxins were recently confirmed.


By Geoffrey Croft

The city is advising parents and dog owners to avoid contact with several water bodies due to the discovery of cyanobacteria, a blue-green like algae which can be toxic. 

Cyanobacteria has been detected in several ponds including the Lake in Central Park and Prospect Park Lake were high level of toxins were confirmed.  

The blooms were also detected in the Pond in Morningside Park in Manhattan,  in Queens at Kissena Park Lake and Bowne Park Pond,  and in Allison Pond Park in Staten Island. 

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) tracks the presence of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) on its notifications page which it updates weekly.  

Blooms can be toxic and children and pets are more vulnerable to its effects.  Effects include:

  • Skin and eye irritation from external contact.
  • Asthma-like symptoms from inhaling water/spray.
  • Gastro-intestinal and neurological symptoms from ingestion. 

If a child or pet is exposed rinse the exposed areas with clean water the City advises.  Seek medical attention if you experience skin, eye, throat irritation or breathing difficulties, and if nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, or fever occur.

When enjoying fresh water features in city parks the public is being advised to try to avoid contact with any algae and observe the following guidelines: 
  • Do not drink the water from these lakes or ponds.
  • Do not swim or wade in any of our lakes or ponds.
  • Watch children at all times near the shoreline and do not allow them to enter or drink from lakes and ponds.
  • Keep pets on leashes and do not allow them to enter or drink from lakes and ponds unless in areas specifically designated for such activities.

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