Roanoke, Virginia – Virginia Department of Health officials issued a warning to the public about a possible toxic algae at Pandapas Pond in Montgomery County.
People who have come in contact with this type of blue-green algae can get a rash and other diseases from the toxins released by it.
Visitors to the pond are urged to remain out of the water and keep dogs away. Children and pets, according to VDH, are at a higher risk of serious sickness if they drink the water because of their low body weight. Pets can get sick from licking their wet fur.
When warm water and nutrients mix to provide ideal growth conditions for algae, harmful algal blooms (HABs) happen. The blooms can get so dense that they turn the water green or bluish-green and form scummy clumps or glops that appear like paint on the water’s surface.
Certain activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and fishing, according to officials, can be performed if contact with the water is avoided.
According to Gary Coggins, senior environmental health manager of the New River Health District, the Department of Environmental Quality will do a follow-up sampling in September to determine the condition of the bloom.
The health department provided the following tips:
- Never allow people or pets to drink untreated water.
- Avoid contact with any waterbody with discolored water, water that smells bad, or has an advisory sign.
- Keep children and pets out of advisory areas. If contact with bloom water cannot be avoided, quickly wash skin or fur with plenty of clean fresh water.
- If you experience symptoms after swimming in or near an algal bloom, seek medical care and let the provider know about your exposure to the bloom water.