CyanoAlert – what’s in the washing powder

25 August 2011

South Africa’s 50/50 TV programme will host an investigation of the role of phosphates in detergents and how these contribute to eutrophication, or perhaps don’t anymore? .  50/50 airs on Monday, 29 August at 19:30 on SABC2.

Lets start CyanoAlert with Canada:

The planned draw-down of water levels in the Scanlon Reservoir this September is on hold – until the “bloom” of blue-green algae that is suspected of killing fish in the pond, has dissipated.  The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority has confirmed the presence of the blue-green algae, Oscillatoria – a species that can produce harmful cyanotoxins. These algae naturally occur in “every body of water,” says Senior Environmental Monitoring Scientist with the LSRCA, David Lembcke, but seldom are a problem until they multiply to form vast colonies, or blooms, when conditions are right.

Then to the US:

Daniel Island (SC) pet owners are being cautioned to pay close attention to a list of specific health symptoms in their animals that could be a sign of a potentially fatal illness.  According to a posting on the Daniel Island Property Owners’ Association website, the police department has reported a few unusual pet deaths on the island over the last several months. In each case, the symptoms appear to be similar: extreme weight loss, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea that is neon green in color. Anyone with pets displaying the above symptoms should contact their veterinarian as soon as possible so necessary blood samples and other diagnostic tests can be performed.

Mirror Lake in New Hampshire is looking good.  According to the NHDES trophic classification system, its average total phosphorus (TP) concentration of 10.4 μg/L (micrograms per liter, which means one millionth of a gram per liter) “places Mirror Lake on the cusp of the ‘Ideal’ and ‘Average’ categories for this water quality parameter.” In South Africa we dream about levels this low!

A health advisory has been issued for the Gerber Reservoir due to high levels of blue-green algae.  The Oregon Public Health Division issued the advisory Tuesday, after performing water monitoring tests on the reservoir, located 42 miles east of Klamath Falls.

The drinking water in several urbanizations of San Miguel (Spain) was declared unfit for human consumption – but no-one seems to know why?

From Oz,

In February 2000, authorities in Perth were so alarmed by a major outbreak of toxic blue-green algae in the Swan River, they closed the waterway. The situation was dire. There was to be no boating, no fishing, no swimming and no activity in the city’s prime recreational waterway for 12 days. The early to mid 2000’s were an unhappy – and unhealthy – time for both the Swan and Canning river systems. In 2003, toxic blooms killed thousands of fish in both rivers and, in 2004 and 2005, blooms caused further fish kills in the Swan. The good news is that nutrient inflow from the brook has been trending downward and Bill Marmion says the government allocated funding in the recent State Budget to create a wetland at Ellen Brook to strip nutrients from the system.  Read more.

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