Cary lake safe following past algae bloom, NCDEQ says

North Carolina

CARY, N.C. (WNCN/CBS) — Bond Lake in Cary is safe after an algae bloom was tested in May, according to information from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

NCDEQ reports cyanobacterial blooms have been reported in the lake as far back as May 27.

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can be toxic and highly lethal to pets and kids.

The algae found in Bond Lake in May was tested and found to be non-toxic.

Also, there are no active blooms in Bond Lake as of Tuesday. Staff at the lake works with NCDEQ to monitor algae blooms.

The Town of Cary said if blooms in the lake test positive for toxins, signs will be posted at key points around the body of water.

People and pets are prohibited from swimming in Bond Lake. Boating is permitted on the lake.

Doug McRainey, Director of Cary Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources, said the town had received “a number of calls, a number of inquiries,” about the issue.

“They assume with the indication that there was a bloom on the map at Bond Lake that we had a toxic bloom here at the lake which is wrong,” McRainey said.

“When the water is stagnant, hasn’t moved in a while, a bloom can occur.  When it occurs, we work very closely with the state and always have it tested and if anything occurs we will put signs out and let people know,” he added.

Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms that live primarily in freshwater and saltwater, at the surface and below, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They multiply and bloom when the water is warm, stagnant and rich in phosphorus and nitrogen from sources such as fertilizer runoff or septic tank overflows. Cyanobacteria blooms are usually blue-green in color.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, toxins from cyanobacteria can impact kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, liver and nervous system of people, pets, livestock and other animals. Children and dogs are said to be the most vulnerable.

According to the group, Blue Cross for Pets, the algae can look like green flakes, greenish bundles or brown dots in a pond, lake or stream when clumped together, and it’s most common in hotter, drier months.

They said the algae can harm dogs with toxins that can stop their liver from functioning properly — and some types can kill dogs just 15 minutes to an hour after drinking contaminated water.

Officials with Blue Cross for Pets say some symptoms pets could have from blue-green algae include vomiting, confusion, weakness, drooling and trouble with breathing.

One woman said her three dogs died from exposure to blue-green algae, after swimming in a Wilmington pond.

“Our dogs were everything,” said Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz. “We had two Westies, they were both therapy certified. And then we had Harpo — he was going to be seven this year. He did a lot of stuff in the community. I mean we just took them here last night and let them play and it ended up in all three of them dying because of something called blue green algae that we’ve never even heard of.”

If you believe you’re pet may be poisoned, contact your vet immediately.

According to Blue Cross for Pets, there’s no antidote for toxins, but if caught early enough, a vet may try to make a dog sick and attempt to flush out the toxins before they take hold.

NCDHHS recommends keeping kids and pets away from waters that appear scummy or discolored. They also recommend not touching large accumulations of algae.

You can click here to view the North Carolina Division of Water Resources’ algal bloom map.

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