People visiting Drayton Reservoir are being urged by the Canal & River Trust to avoid contact with the water after an outbreak of blue-green algae.
The algae, which can be toxic,occurs naturally in many inland bodies of water. It can cause allergic reactions including itchy eyes, skin irritation and hay fever-like symptoms. Occasionally, blue-green algae ‘blooms’, colouring the water green, blue-green or greenish brown and sometimes causing paint-like or jelly-like scums.
While the outbreak of blue-green algae in summer is a natural occurrence, it is unusual for a bloom to occur in late October.
Richard Bennett, environment manager at the Canal & River Trust said: “Drayton Reservoir is a great place for people to come for a walk or cycle to see the varied wildlife and heritage it offers. We want people to continue to enjoy the lovely waterside setting but to be aware that there’s a current outbreak of blue-green algae in the water
“Blue-green algae is naturally occurring but it can be harmful to your skin. We’re asking people to be extra careful and if they or their pets come into contact with the affected water, they should wash all exposed skin with clean water as soon as possible, and particularly before eating or drinking. If they are in any doubt about their welfare after contact with algae, they should seek medical advice.”
The outbreaks of blue-green algae may persist whilst the weather remains unseasonably warm. The location and extent of the bloom and any scums may vary with wind, weather and water movements and visitors to the waterside are being asked to remain vigilant.
Warning signs have been placed around the affected areas.