Warning signs erected after tests reveal toxic algae at Belmont Pool

Warning signs erected after tests reveal toxic algae at Belmont Pool

There are fears for dog safety as a blue-green algae has been found in Belmont Pool.From left: Nicola Lynch, Parish Councillor Mark Schoffer, Councillor Glenda Powell and Ann Schoffer. Photo: James Maggs. (7045535)

A sign at the entrance to Belmont Pool warning of the danger. Photo: James Maggs. (7045556)

Councillor Glenda Powell with the warning sign at the entrance to Belmont Pool. Photo: James Maggs. (7045566)

Beside the warning sign at the entrance to Belmont Pool is (from left) Ann Schoffer, Councillor Glenda Powell, Parish Councillor Mark Schoffer and Nicola Lynch. Photo: James Maggs. (7045570)

First published in News

WARNING signs have been erected at a Hereford lake after tests revealed the water is contaminated with potentially poisonous algae.

The Hereford Times has previously reported how one dog died and others became ill after being walked at Belmont Pool.

Ilze Paranuka, 22, was behind a petition that called for urgent investigations to be carried out in the area after her seven-month-old springador puppy Monty died just days after being walked at the site in south Hereford.

And the Environment Agency has this week confirmed that tests have revealed there is a form of toxic blue-green algae in the area.

Councillor Glenda Vaughan-Powell, who lives nearby and has been warning local residents and dog walkers about the dangers, said residents have been advised not to allow dogs to drink the water.

She said: “Parents have also been advised to tell their children not to swim at the pools.

"The blue-green algae is naturally occurring and we unfortunately have to let it run its course, which normally ends when the weather turns frostier.

"We have already informed the public via the council's website."

Warning signs were erected at around 7am on Tuesday, in line with the Environment Agency's recommendations.

According to the Environment Agency, the blue-green algae can produce toxins called Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) which can kill wild animals, farm livestock and domestic pets.

In humans, they can cause rashes after skin contact and illnesses if swallowed.

Although not all blue-green algae blooms and scums are toxic, it is not possible to tell by looking at them and it is recommended they be avoided.

It is a natural annual feature of some waters and changes in water management – such as changing water circulation, increasing shade, reducing nutrient input or, in some cases, removing nutrients – can control the algae.

Illnesses caused by the algae can include skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, muscle and joint pain in people who’ve swallowed or swam through algal scum.

And though the news comes too late for Monty, Ms Paranuka is pleased to see that her call for an investigation was answered.

She said: "I now have a peace of mind and can stop blaming myself. We are now trying to close this chapter and are proud of how many dogs we have saved."

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