Another dog death from algal poisoning

26 July 2013

The unfortunate death of a dog that came into contact with blue-green algae in a lake in Southampton (NY) has been reported.  In New Brunswick (Canada) the City of Moncton has had to again close the reservoir at the Irishtown Nature Park to all recreational uses due to the presence of blue-green algae.

With blue-green algae contaminating lakes nationwide, a Kansas State University toxicologist warns pet owners to understand the bacteria’s dangers for their pets and for themselves. Blue-green algae produce toxins that are hazardous to humans and can be fatal in animals, particularly dogs, said Deon van der Merwe, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology. Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, grow in bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds, and other wet places, such as moist soil or rocks.

“Essentially anywhere there is water, you can find blue-green algae,” said van der Merwe, who also manages the toxicology section of the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Blue-green algae develop when water has excess nutrients, which helps cyanobacteria grow rapidly and creates an algae bloom. Discolored water or algal scum can be signs of an algae bloom, which can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Cyanobacteria need sunlight to grow because they are photosynthesizing organisms, van der Merwe said.


More algal warnings posted for US and UK lakes

25 July 2013

Is it only in South Africa that morons like this get driver's licences?

Is it only in South Africa that morons like this get driver’s licences?

Algal blooms have been reported for the following locations:

Atchison’s Warnock Lake in Kansas.

State officials recently detected dangerous levels of toxic blue-green algae in the lake.  Blue-green algae is a bacteria caused from a nutrient overload in the water. Ponds and lakes that are downstream from farming areas are often impacted. “Factor in shallow water, lack of circulation, warm temperatures, it all helps it,” [an official] added. The health department issued a public health warning for the lake until the algae clears out, which could take several weeks or months. Read more »

South African industry has not yet grasped the full extent of the water crisis threat

24 July 2013

A report by the National Business Initiative (NBI) has revealed that 70% of companies who responded to a survey have experienced financial constraints due to water issues.  These issues remain focussed on water scarcity and continue to be apparently ignorant of the dual threat of too little water that is of dubious quality.  Time will tell if industry will grasp the reality in time (search for Water Crisis on this blog for more information).  Simple Math = (you have 100 liters of water but if 40 liters are polluted, how much do you actually have to use without added cost and effort?).  Taking the arguments further, see the numbers about trying to supply water to South Africa’s latest expense account, the Medupi power station. Read more »

Algal blooms reported for 16 US states so far this summer

23 July 2013

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 17.24.57

So far this summer, and its not over yet, sixteen states in the USA have reported problems with potentially-toxic algae in their lakes! (see map).

Lake Nipissing makes a return to CyanoAlert again this year – with cyanobacteria found in Musky Bay.  A first to this blog, though, is a report for Craigavon Lakes in Ireland – where the report says high concentrations of algal cells have been detected! Read more »

Biggest algal bloom ever hits Biscayne Bay

20 July 2013

The Miami Herald reports that

An algae bloom has hit Biscayne Bay and it is possibly one of the biggest in history.  The algae bloom apparently poses no health risks to people, but according to a report by CBS4 news partner, The Miami Herald, it has left the bay smelling like a Porta-Potty. So far, the paper reports no fish kills either. Biologists are worried that if the algae bloom continues, it could damage sea grass beds which could disrupt the marine food chain.  Bob Branham, a top fishing guide with three decades experience poling fly-fishing clients across Biscayne Bay’s shallows, told the paper he’s never seen the bay this bad.

Here are some other algal warning reports for today – gleaned from Friday’s press reporting in the US and Canada (down here in the Southern H conditions are a tad chilly for blue-green algae, but they are still around!): Read more »

Algae close lots more recreational waters in the US

19 July 2013

States in the USA continue to be open and honest about which lakes might make you sick or kill your dog. Problems at popular summer recreation areas such as Lake Erie are having a big impact.   The beach at Bemus Point (NY) was closed yesterday.  Also in NY, algal issues plague the Finger Lakes area and at Redwood’s Butterfield Lake, Alexandria.   A warning has been posted for Horseshoe Pond, Merrimack, New Hampshire, as well as for Elbow Pond in Maryland.

In Florida, there are problems at Indian River and and the St Lucie Estuary.  Temperatures are warming up generally and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued warnings about the dangers of toxic algae in lakes and ponds.

In Canada, dog owners have been warned to stay clear of Bear Creek Lake.  I am not sure where Oxford County is but their Pittock Reservoir has been closed due to an algal bloom.  From Woolwich Reservoir  (Ontario) comes some news about people who became ill after swimming there.

Note To Droplets Readers:  The CyanoAlert and related articles carried by Droplets will terminate at the end of July due to funding constraints. Apologies to all our regular readers but this is beyond our control.

Algae closing lots of beaches

18 July 2013

Starting in Kentucky (a first for Droplets I think) is a warning that algal blooms in the Rough River need to be avoided. A common visitor to Droplets is Lake Attitash – where contact with the lake water is to be avoided – a condition that started back in June.  In Maryland, Buzzards Bay is off-limits – as reported by the local health agent, Cynthia Coffin (yes, you read it right). Read more »

Blue-green algal blooms close Lake Erie beaches

17 July 2013

All beaches in the Chatham-Kent area of Lake Erie (Canada) have been closed as a result of dense cyanobacterial blooms. There is a stunning photo of a bloom off this shoreline at this link.

The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit is advising the public to avoid exposure to the blue green algae.

  • Do not swim or wade in any water when a noticeable green surface scum or green discolouration of the water is present

  • Do not use the water for drinking, bathing or showering

  • Do not allow children, pets or livestock to drink or swim in the water.

  • Do not boil the water or treat it with a disinfectant, as this will release more toxins into the water

  • Eating fish caught in water where cyanobacterial blooms occur is not recommended. Read more »

Algal summer on the way in the USA

14 July 2013

North Carolina’s Jordan Lake is the subject of some algal-related controversy as blue-green algal blooms threaten the beneficial uses of this rather attractive waterbody.  There seem to be all sorts of end of pipe solutions being sought, rather than dealing with the problem at source (the “living with eutrophication” scenario that I have discussed on previous occasions).  Amongst these have been the use of aerators which, reportedly, have not achieved anything at all:

Much has been made of installing numerous aerators in the lake itself as a means of controlling algal blooms and restoring the lake’s water quality. This has been based on the experience of Greenfield Lake in Wilmington, in which aerators were installed in 2005. The aerators have in fact increased dissolved oxygen levels in lake areas near the aerators. However, they have done nothing to reduce nutrient concentrations within the lake, and the number of algal blooms in Greenfield Lake has actually increased since the installation.

Artificial aeration or circulation using “new” technology will not lead to meeting the water quality criterion in Jordan Lake; this conclusion is based on the results of many studies involving in-lake aeration or circulation technology. Despite recent statements coming from NC DENR, the Jordan Rules are based on a plan that will meet the water quality standard, which is required for approval of the cleanup plan by NC DENR and the U.S. EPA.

Technology has a role to play in lake restoration; however, such technologies are best used to control and reduce nitrogen and phosphorus inputs on land before they reach the water. Once in the water, nutrients become extremely expensive to remove and disrupt the lake’s fish and wildlife communities.

Preventing pollution from getting into a lake is way better than trying to fix a polluted lake!  Unfortunately Jordan Lake is one of many, many cases where the need to deal with pollution is being wilfully avoided!

Jordan Lake is a major drinking water supply for the Research Triangle area and a heavily used recreational area. Over the years, inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus have led to large algal blooms that impair this waterway, causing the U.S. EPA to require North Carolina to devise a plan (called a TMDL – total maximum daily load) to reduce nutrient inputs. Over several years, a variety of stakeholders worked out a plan involving compromise that was signed by Gov. Bev Perdue.

However, the General Assembly is now considering delaying pollutant controls for three years and suggests that using as-yet unidentified technology within the lake proper can clean it up. The best and cheapest way to improve water quality is to keep the nutrients from entering the lake in the first place.

Stupid is as stupid does!

Read more »

Florida concerned about un-controlled pollution and algal blooms

30 June 2013

While Barack Obama is holidaying in South Africa, here are some end-of-month notices about algal blooms in North America:

Users of Taylorsville Lake (Canada) have been warned about increasing levels of toxicity. In Oklahoma, the US Army Corps of Engineers have increased the list of potentially- toxic lakes to include Keystone Lake, Lake Tenkiller, Lake Eufaula and Skiatook Lake.  A separate report has Green County Lake added to the Oklahoma list.  Fernan Lake in Idaho is today’s addition to the list.  The Dorothy State has the following lakes on warning

  • Logan City Lake – Logan, Phillips County
  • Marion Reservoir – Marion County
  • Memorial Park Lake (Veterans Lake) – Great Bend, Barton Count

and Milford Reservoir on an advisory notice.

In Florida, algal blooms are being associated with a number of problems, including (see report) the death of manatees. Read more »