PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Rhode Island’s Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Environmental Management (DEM) are lifting blue-green algae health advisories.
The advisories caution people to avoid contact and recreational activities with bodies of water. Blooms of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, can produce harmful toxins to humans and animals.
Advisories are being lifted for these bodies of water:
• Slack Reservoir, Smithfield-Johnston
• J. L Curran Reservoir, Cranston
• Melville Ponds, Portsmouth
Due to evidence of ongoing blue-green algae blooms, advisories will remain in effect for these bodies of water:
• Blackamore Pond, Cranston
• Spectacle Pond, Cranston
• Almy Pond, Newport
• Roger Williams Park Ponds (other than Pleasure Lake), Providence
Contact with water containing blue-green algae can cause irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and throat. Ingestion of water containing blue-green algal toxins can cause stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
Other health effects, which are rarer, include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage. Young children and pets are at greater risk than adults, due to their size and because they are more likely to drink contaminated water.
The public is reminded to avoid contact with any body of water that is bright green or has a dense, floating algal mat on the water’s surface. Blue-green algae blooms may look like green paint or thick pea soup. Toxins may persist in the water after a blue-green algae bloom is no longer visible.
People who experience the symptoms associated with blue-green algae exposure and who have been swimming or fishing in the water, or drinking untreated water from a water body with a confirmed or suspected cyanobacteria bloom, should contact their healthcare providers.
People who come into contact with potentially affected waters should rinse their skin and wash their clothes with clean water as soon as possible.
People observing pets exhibiting adverse health symptoms after contact with potentially affected waters should contact their veterinarians. Pets who encounter potentially affected waters should not be allowed to lick water off their fur and should be rinsed with clean water as soon as possible.
Continued seasonal cooling and declining daylight are expected to cause blue-green algae to subside. DEM will re-visit water bodies under continued advisory and, if blue-green algae have subsided, a status update will be issued.
To report suspected blue-green algae blooms, contact DEM’s Office of Water Resources at 222-4700 or DEM.OWRCyano@dem.ri.gov.