Swimmers warned to watch out for toxic scum at Hampstead Heath ponds

Swimmers using Hampstead Heath’s ponds have been warned not to get too close to poisonous algae and scum forming on the water. Signs have been posted at the entrance warning pond users not to consume the water and to make sure they shower after their swim. The blue-green algae can cause upset stomachs and skin and eye problems….

A City of London spokesman said: “The Men’s Pond is currently suffering from blue-green algae blooms. It’s linked to a number of factors such as sunlight, water movement and most of all nutrient enrichment. The blue-green alge on the Men’s Pond normally forms blooms or scums away from the swimming area so is often less of a problem. When blue-green algae form scums and blooms then levels of toxins are likely to be higher due to higher physical concentrations. You can only tell if a bloom is toxic by laboratory testing. The current bloom is a mixture of at least 3 blue-green algae species.”

He added: “When there’s signs of it we do confirmation testing – and it was confirmed as BGA. Notices are up warning that there are BGA blooms in the Pond, so that swimmers can make an informed choice on whether they swim or not, but we advise anyone that does continue to swim to shower afterwards and not to consumer any water. We are operating diffusers in the ponds which airates the water and disperses the BGA away from the swimming areas. So far no reports of illness to humans or animals have been reported.”


Photo caption: Warning signs at the Men’s Pond

Richard Osley, Camden New Journal

View original article at: Swimmers warned to watch out for toxic scum at Hampstead Heath ponds

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