WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – If you plan on heading to a pond or lake this weekend, you might be hanging out with an unwanted guest.
It is called cyanobacteria- sometimes known as “blue green algae”- which are microscopic organisms that live in all types of water.
Blue green algae grows quickly, or “blooms,” when the water is warm and slow-moving; during the summer months and into the fall.
Direct contact (like swimming) or indirect contact (such as boating) can create exposure which can do harm to you, or even your pet if they are with you. Where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae, it is best to keep away and not swim there.
22News talked Wednesday with Diane Mas, an environmental engineer at Fuss & O’Neill, who said that weather plays a major role in these blooms growing.
“The input of nutrients like phosphorous into lakes and ponds, combined with warmer temperatures and sunlight, and often water conditions- when we get that perfect storm of conditions of algae bloom, we can really see it take off,” Mas said.
Blooms can be many different colors, from green or blue to red or brown. You cannot tell a toxin just by looking at it.
If you do see an algae bloom, it is best to contact officials from your local board of health.