The Rhode Island Department of Health (RI DOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) announce today the lifting of public health advisories on Blackamore Pond in Cranston, Warwick Pond in Warwick, and Melville Pond in Portsmouth. Contact with and recreational activities on these waters may now be resumed.
Advisories had been put in place for Melville Pond in June, Blackamore Pond in July, and Warwick Pond in August because of the presence of blue-green algae blooms, also known as cyanobacteria.
Cyanobacteria has the potential to form the naturally occurring algal toxins known as Microcystin and Anatoxin. These 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 contact with water containing algal toxins. If water containing algal toxins is ingested, effects may include stomach aches, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Younger children and pets are at greater risk, given that they are more likely to drink contaminated water. Other health effects, which are rarer, include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage.
Because of the continued presence of cyanobacteria, health advisories remain in effect for Sisson Pond, St. Mary's Pond, and Lawton Valley Reservoir, all in Portsmouth; Watson Reservoir in Little Compton; and Paradise Pond and Eastons Pond South, both in Middletown. Additionally, the advisory for Eastons Pond South has been extended to Eastons Pond North. All of these bodies of water are supply sources for the Newport Water system. For this reason, recreational activity on all Newport Water reservoirs is restricted.
People who experience the symptoms associated with cyanobacteria exposure and who have been swimming or fishing in water with a suspected cyanobacteria bloom, or drinking untreated water from a waterbody with a suspected cyanobacteria bloom, should contact their healthcare providers. People observing pets exhibiting adverse health symptoms after contact with potentially affected waters should contact their veterinarians. People who come into contact with potentially affected waters should rinse their skin with clean water as soon as possible, and wash their clothes.
Algae blooms can be dense floating algal mats that form on the water's surface, or they can form under water. They are bright green and often resemble green paint or thick pea soup. Although cooler temperatures and shorter day lengths combine to produce conditions generally unfavorable to algae growth, people should continue to avoid contact with water that contains matter that meets this description.