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Advisory - Indian Lake Closed Indefinitely

Worcester, MA (July 10, 2014) - The Worcester Division of Public Health has issued a public health advisory due to the observation of high levels of cyanobacteria algae (blue-green) in Indian Lake. The lake has been ordered closed indefinitely. Individuals and their pets are encouraged to avoid coming in contact with the lake until further notice. The City will be working with environmental health specialists to monitor water quality daily to better determine the length of the closure.

Growth of these naturally-occurring algae is aided by certain environmental conditions, such as warm weather, sunlight and excess nutrients in the water. Excess levels of nutrients in water bodies can come from human related sources. Phosphorous and nitrogen - found in lawn fertilizers, storm water runoff, wild waste, and agricultural activities – are two key nutrients that aid blue-green algae growth.

Indian Lake is the only body of water in the city known to have this issue. The city will continue to monitor its other bodies of water for any potential problems.

Health concerns from harmful algae blooms and their toxins vary depending on the type of exposure, and the amounts of toxin present. The following recommendations are being offered to avoid algae exposure until further notice:

  • Do not swim in the lake
  • Do not allow pets in water
  • Fishing is prohibited
  • Do not swallow water
  • Rinse skin off immediately after contact

“Public Health is advising the public to be aware of harmful algae blooms at Indian Lake so that the necessary precautions can be considered in order to protect themselves, family members and pets from exposure of these unhealthy waters” said Michael P. Hirsh, Acting Commissioner of Public Health.

Health Risks:

  • Contact with these algae can cause skin and eye irritation.
  • Ingesting small amounts can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Ingesting large amounts of toxins may cause liver or neurological damage.
  • Inhaling water spray with algae in it can cause asthma-like symptoms.
  • Small children and pets are more susceptible to the effects of toxins than adults.
  • Livestock and pet deaths from ingesting algal toxins have occurred.

For more information, see the brochure below or call 508-929-1300.


mdph-algae-brochure.pdf mdph-algae-brochure.pdf

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