A suspected blue green algae bloom was spotted on the River Greta in Keswick’s Fitz Park earlier this week which prompted a warning from the Environment Agency.
The blooms can prove toxic to pets and wildlife, and can also cause illness in people and swimmers.
Blue green algae can have a negative effect on the appearance, quality and use of the water. It naturally occurs in inland waters, such as the lakes but not often found in moving water.
Katy Barton, communications manager for the Environment Agency (EA), said: “The Environment Agency received a call from a member of the public on Tuesday evening reporting a green sheen on the River Greta in Fitz Park.
“Officers have reviewed the information received and believe this to be an algal bloom caused by the recent warm weather with no environmental impacts being evident.”
Members of the public are urged to call the EA’s incident hotline on 0800 807060 if they spot any environmental incidents such as algal blooms.
Throughout the summer months the agency tests water samples to confirm if blue green algae is present before informing landowners of the blooms. The necessary steps are then taken to warn the public of any potential dangers, by either the local authority or a private landowner.
Water affected by blue-green algae, or algal blooms, may be green, blue-green or greenish brown and can smell musty, earthy or grassy. Blooms can cause foaming on the shoreline of the water body which can sometimes be confused with sewage pollution.
Bloom and scum forming blue-green algae can produce toxins which are harmful to wild animals, livestock and domestic pets. For humans, it has been known to cause rashes and illnesses. Not all blue green algae blooms are toxic but a member of the public would not know just by looking at them, so the Environment Agency warns that it is best to assume they are.