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Algae fears at park pond; Environment: Public warned after potentially toxic substance suspected.

Byline: CALUM PETRIE

Elgin residents have been urged to beware the water in the town's most popular park.

Concerns have been raised about the presence of potentially toxic bluegreen algae in Cooper Park's pond.

Moray Council was alerted to the suspected outbreak by a member of the public on Monday morning.

The authority and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) have now taken samples for testing.

In the meantime, members of the public have been urged not to enter the pond, as the water could potentially be hazardous.

They have also been warned not to let pets bathe in the pond, which is a favoured spot for dogs to jump in and cool off on warm days.

Algae can produce toxins which are harmful to dogs and has the potential to stop their livers functioning properly.

The algae - if its presence is confirmed - should not have any significant impact upon visitors to the park.

But a spokeswoman for Sepa said yesterday that while the agency awaited the results of the water tests, visitors should avoid the pond entirely.

"We have taken samples from Cooper Park in Elgin to test for blue-green algae," she said.

"Every day Sepa works to protect and enhance Scotland's environment and our sampling will confirm the presence or absence of blue-green algae in the water.

"We notified the local authority who put up signs around the park notifying members of the public.

"Contact with blue-green algae can cause adverse medical effects so members of the public are advised to stay away from the water and keep dogs on a lead, avoiding the immediate area.

"Blue-green algal blooms usually develop during the warmer months and can be quite common at this time of year.

"While blooms can sometimes be attributed to excessive nutrient enrichment, they can also occur as an entirely natural phenomenon in ponds and lochs that are little impacted by human activities.

"If members of the public suspect blue-green algae they should contact and follow advice provided by the local authority."

Councillor Graham Leadbitter added: "Occasionally there are issues with algae in ponds and Cooper Park is no exception.

"The council are working with Sepa to address the issue, but in the meantime we would encourage people to stay away from the water and not allow pets to drink from it.

"We urge this as a precaution - it shouldn't have any significant impact on people visiting Cooper Park."

"Stay away from the water and keep dogs on a lead"

CAPTION(S):

CONCERNS: Samples have been taken to be tested to find out if blue-green algae is present at Cooper Park. Photograph by Jason Hedges

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Publication:The Press and Journal (Aberdeen,Scotland)
Date:Aug 7, 2019
Words:438
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