Jump to content

Warning: Algae bloom in Spy Pond, Arlington


Recommended Posts

FYI - from the Arlington Board of Health



Town of Arlington

27 Maple Street

Arlington, Massachusetts 02476

Christine M. Connolly, MPH, CHO Tel: 781 316-3170

Director of Health and Human Services Fax: 781 316-3175


High levels of microcystis algae were detected at Spy Pond during water sampling performed by volunteers from the Mystic River Watershed Association. This particular type of algae can be toxic if ingested in high doses and can cause skin irritation and a rash after wading or swimming. The Arlington Board of Health strongly advises residents not to swim or stand in the water and especially urges residents to keep pets away from the water.

Microcystis is a cyanobacteria algae that grows naturally beneath or on the surface of many waterbodies. Under certain conditions (such as warm weather and an abundance of nutrients in the water) the algae may undergo an explosive type of growth that results in dense, floating mats of algae. This is commonly referred to as an "algae bloom."

Contact with high levels of the cyanobacteria algae has been found to contribute to eye, ear, and skin irritation. Microcystis is different from most other types of algae because it contains and can secrete a toxin into the water. During an algae bloom, the amount of algae and toxin in the water can become elevated and exposure can be potentially harmful to people and animals.

Health concerns vary depending on the concentrations of microcystis and its toxin, microcystin. Ingestion of elevated concentrations of the algae and its toxin can lead to more serious health effects (e.g. muscle cramps, twitching, and liver damage)

Since algae benefit from warm, sunny weather, as the days get shorter and cooler, the algae are likely to dissipate. Any toxins that are in the water will decline over time as the algae die off. In addition, any rainfall will help to circulate the water and break-up the bloom.

For questions related to health concerns, contact your health care provider. For questions related to this advisory contact the Arlington Board of Health 781-316-3170. For questions related to water testing in the Mystic River Watershed contact the Mystic River Watershed Association 781-316-3438.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...