PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island health officials are advising people to stay clear of Sisson Pond in Portsmouth after toxic algae blooms were discovered.
A blue-green algae known as cyanobacteria was found blooming in the water at the pond, according to officials.
The DEM says you can identify algae blooms if the water looks like green paint, thick pea soup or green cottage cheese from the surface.
If you find yourself near potentially contaminated water, the DEM says to take the following precautions:
- Do not ingest water or eat fish from the water.
- Avoid fishing, boating and kayaking in the water.
- Do not let pets drink or swim in water.
- If you or your pet come in contact with the water, rinse the skin clean as soon as possible.
According to the DEM, coming into contact with water containing blue-green algae could cause irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and throat, according to health officials. If the water is ingested, you may experience stomachaches, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Rarer side effects due to ingestion are dizziness, headaches, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage.
If your pet comes into contact with contaminated water, do not let it lick algae off its fur because it will make them sick. If you believe your pet is suffering from algae poisoning it is important that you contact a veterinarian immediately. Signs of blue-green algae poising in pets consist of loss of energy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or any unexplained sickness that occurs within a few days after being in contact with water.
Officials said the toxins may persist in the water after the blue-green algae bloom is no longer visible.
To report suspected blue-green algae blooms, call the DEM’s Office of Water Resources at (401) 222-4700 or by email at DEM.OWRCyano@dem.ri.gov and include a photo of the water, if possible.