Warning over algae in pond

VISITORS to Christchurch Park and being advised to stay away from the water after potentially-dangerous blue-green algae was found in the Wilderness Pond.

By Paul Geater

VISITORS to Christchurch Park and being advised to stay away from the water after potentially-dangerous blue-green algae was found in the Wilderness Pond.

Park rangers have warned that the algae could stay in the water of the newly-cleaned pond for the next two years.

Blue green algae is toxic and can make people ill if it is swallowed or can induce a rash if you touch it.

There have been no cases recorded of people dying after drinking contaminated water, but there have been cases of pet dogs and farm animals dying after drinking it, although it is no danger to the wildfowl.

Signs have now been put up around the Wilderness pond and the small pond that it fills, warning people to take care in the area.

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Christchurch Park manager Sam Pollard said the situation should not pose any dangers to the public, but it was best to warn them to ensure that pet dogs were kept out of the water.

He said: “Once you have blue green algae there really isn't much you can do about it - we're not really surprised this has happened, it's the kind of thing that happens when you clean a pond.

“It will be there until the pond settles down and that means it is likely to bloom this year and next year so we will have to keep on warning people.”

A pond in Castle Park in Colchester had to be closed after the algae was discovered, but Mr Pollard said this was of greater concern because it was used as a boating lake and there was a danger of the water being splashed.

Mr Pollard said the situation in Christchurch Park was more of a concern to contractors than to the general public.

He said: “They are due to put up a new fence around the pond and we are having to give them advice about keeping well away from the water itself.”

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