Department of Health cautions residents to avoid Scott Pond

Department of Health cautions residents to avoid Scott Pond

LINCOLN – The Rhode Island Department of Health and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management are advising people to avoid contact with Scott Pond in Lincoln due to a confirmed blue-green algae (or cyanobacteria) bloom in the pond. Blue-green algae can produce toxins that can harm humans and animals.

People should not ingest water or eat fish from the pond. Because pets can be affected by exposure to toxins from the algae, owners should not allow pets to drink this water or swim in the water. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

Irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and/or throat are common side effects that result from contact with water containing algal toxins. If the water is ingested, health effects can include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Young children and pets are at greater risk than adults, since they are more likely to drink contaminated water.

Other health effects, which are rarer, include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage. People who have been swimming in, or have otherwise been in contact with, Scott Pond and experience those symptoms should contact their health care providers.

Anyone who comes into contact with this water should rinse their skin with clean water as soon as possible, bathe, and wash their clothes. If a pet comes in contact with this water, the pet should be washed with clean water. Do not let the animal lick algae off its fur. Call a veterinarian if the pet shows any symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning, which include loss of energy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or any unexplained sickness that occurs within a few days of contact with the water.

Toxins may persist in the water after the blue-green algae bloom is no longer visible.

The public should avoid contact with any body of water in Rhode Island 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.

To report suspected blue-green algae blooms, contact Brian Zalewsky in DEM’s Office of Water Resources at 401-222-4700 ext. 7145, brian.zalewsky@dem.ri.gov , or Jane Sawyer at 401-222-4700 ext. 2032, jane.sawyers@dem.ri.gov. If possible, send a photo of the bloom.