RIDOH and DEM recommend avoiding contact with Lake Cunliff; Notice of Waiver for Roosevelt Pond, Turner Reservoir and Tiogue Lake

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) are advising people to avoid contact with Cunliff Lake (Roger Williams Park) in Providence due to a blue-green algae bloom. green (or cyanobacteria). Blue algae can produce toxins that can harm humans and animals.

Recent consecutive surveys and analyzes of samples from Turner Reservoir in East Providence, Roosevelt Pond (Roger Williams Park) in Providence and Lake Tiogue in Coventry confirmed that blue-green algae were at acceptable levels and that cyanotoxin is not present in detectable concentrations. These results are consistent with state guidelines to support lifting the advisory.

People should be careful not to ingest water or eat fish from Cunliff Lake and Elm Lakes (also under advisory) at Roger Williams Park. All recreation, including swimming, wading, fishing, boating, and kayaking, should be avoided. Animals likely to ingest water are particularly exposed to algal toxins. Owners should therefore not allow pets to drink or swim in the lakes. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice. Caution should be exercised when recreating in Roger Williams Park as conditions may change and spread cyanobacterial blooms to other areas.

Skin contact with water containing blue-green algae often causes irritation of the skin, nose, eyes and/or throat. Common health effects associated with ingesting water containing algal toxins include stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Rarer health effects include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage. Young children and pets are particularly at risk for the health effects associated with algal toxins. People who have been in contact with pond water and experience these symptoms should contact their health care provider.

If you come into contact with water, rinse your skin with clean water as soon as possible and when you get home, take a shower and wash your clothes. Likewise, if your pet comes into contact with water, wash it immediately with clear water. Do not let the animal lick its fur. Call a veterinarian if your pet shows symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning, including loss of energy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or any unexplained illness that occurs about a day after being in contact with water. People are being warned that the toxins can linger in the water after the blue-green algae bloom is gone.

Blue-green algae blooms may also be present in other Rhode Island bodies of water. People are advised to avoid contact with bodies of water that exhibit bright green coloration in the water or on the water’s surface and/or dense floating mats of algae that form on the surface some water. The water may look like green paint, thick pea soup, or green cottage cheese.

For more information and a list of current and historical advisories, go to www.dem.ri.gov/bluegreen Please send reports of suspected blue-green algal blooms, along with photographs, if possible to DEM [email protected] .

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