Whiting’s Pond closed following discovery of algae bloom

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Photo courtesy of the Town of North Attleborough FaceBook Page

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

The town has issued a recreational water closure for Whiting’s Pond while a study of an algae bloom is conducted.

According to information posted to the town’s web site on Friday, a toxin can be produced by cyanobacteria (formerly known as blue-green algae) and cause harm. The closure of the pond was recommended by the Department of Public Health.

While we cannot confirm the presence of cyano-toxin, caution must be maintained,” the statement read.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people exposed to cyano-toxins can experience effects ranging from “a mild skin rash to serious illness or in rare circumstances, death. Acute illnesses caused by short-term exposure to cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins during recreational activities include hay fever-like symptoms, skin rashes, respiratory and gastrointestinal distress. Exposure to drinking water contaminated with elevated concentrations of microcystin and cylindrospermopsin could cause liver and kidney damage.”

The North Attleborough Board of Health, along with the Park and Recreation and Conservation departments, are working with local and state public health and emergency response agencies to address the situation. Updated information will be posted when the advisory is lifted or if there are any changes to the closure’s conditions.

For more information, contact 508-699-0104 or visit www.nattleboro.com. Residents are advised to share this information with other people who recreate in the pond.

Recommendations for Whitings Pond

Do not swim, wade or come in contact with the water, scum, foam or algae at Whitings Pond.

Seek medical attention if you or family members are experiencing illness after swimming or playing in water. Recreational waters containing cyanobacteria at levels exceeding the state’s guidelines for issuing a Health Advisory can put you at risk of various adverse health effects including upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Exposure to concentrations of cyanobacteria and toxins higher than the state’s guideline values could potentially result in more serious illnesses, including liver or kidney damage.

Animals may be vulnerable to adverse health effects of cyanobacteria or cyanotoxins. Contact a veterinarian if animals show signs of illness.

If you, your family members or your animals have experienced adverse cyanobacteria-related health effects, contact the North Attleboro Board of Health to report the illness.