The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) announce that recent test results have led them to lift a temporary advisory issued on August 24, 2010 regarding contact with water from the Turner Reservoir, Ten Mile River, and Omega Pond.
In August, a dense blue green algae bloom turned the waters of Turner Reservoir a bright green color. Laboratory results from tests on water samples taken at that time found unacceptable counts of blue green algae species present. These algae, also referred to as cyanobacteria, have the potential to form the naturally occurring algal toxins, Microcystin and Anatoxin. The toxins can cause harm to humans and animals. Skin rashes and irritation of the nose, eyes, and/or throat are common side effects that result from skin contact with water containing algal toxins. If water containing algal toxins is ingested, health effects include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Young children and pets are more at risk to algal toxins than adults, since they are more likely to drink contaminated water.
The visible signs of the algal bloom are gone and sampling of water from the Turner Reservoir and Omega Pond by both the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and RI DEM indicate that blue green algae cell counts and Microcystin levels are within acceptable limits.