The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) are lifting the advisories that had warned the public to avoid contact and recreational activities with several bodies of water in Rhode Island because of blue-green algae blooms. However, the advisories on several other bodies of water are remaining in place. Blooms of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, can produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals.
Advisories for the following bodies of water are being lifted: • Stafford Pond, Tiverton • Pleasure Lake, Providence • Lawton Valley Reservoir, Portsmouth • Mashapaug Pond, Providence • Warwick Pond, Warwick • Sisson Pond, Portsmouth • Turner Reservoir, Rumford • St. Mary's Pond, Portsmouth
Because of evidence of ongoing blue-green algae blooms, advisories remain in place for the following bodies of water:
• J. L Curran Reservoir, Cranston • Blackamore Pond, Cranston • Spectacle Pond, Cranston • Almy Pond, Newport • Slack Reservoir, Smithfield-Johnston • Melville Ponds, Portsmouth • Roger Williams Park Ponds (other than Pleasure Lake), Providence
Contact with water containing blue-green algae can cause irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and/or throat. Ingestion of water containing blue-green algal toxins can cause stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Other health effects, which are rarer, include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage. Young children and pets are at greater risk than adults, due to their size and because they are more likely to drink contaminated water.
The public is reminded to avoid contact with any body of water that is bright green or has a dense, floating algal mat on the water's surface. Blue-green algae blooms may look like green paint or thick pea soup. Toxins may persist in the water after a blue-green algae bloom is no longer visible.
People who experience the symptoms associated with blue-green algae exposure and who have been swimming or fishing in water, or drinking untreated water from a body of water with a confirmed or suspected cyanobacteria bloom, should contact their healthcare providers. People who come into contact with potentially affected waters should rinse their skin and wash their clothes with clean water as soon as possible. People observing pets exhibiting adverse health symptoms after contact with potentially affected waters should contact their veterinarians. Pets who encounter potentially affected waters should not be allowed to lick water off their fur and should be rinsed with clean water as soon as possible.
Seasonal cooling and declining daylight are expected to cause blue-green algae to subside. During the week of November 13th RIDEM will re-visit waterbodies under continued advisory. If blue-green algae have subsided, a status update will be issued at that time.
To report suspected blue-green algae blooms, contact DEM's Office of Water Resources at 222-4700 or DEM.OWRCyano@dem.ri.gov.