City of Milwaukee Health Department reports presence of blue-green algae in Veterans’ Park Lagoon

NOW: City of Milwaukee Health Department reports presence of blue-green algae in Veterans’ Park Lagoon

The City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) has reported that water quality testing conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health has indicated the presence of cyanobacteria (or blue-green algae) in the lagoon at Veterans Park.

“The detection of blue-green algae in a local waterway serves as a reminder that any natural body of water can contain organisms that present a health risk,” said Commissioner of Health Bevan K. Baker. “During these warm summer months, all area residents taking part in recreational water activities should be aware that algae may be present and take appropriate precautions.”

Blue-green algae is a common algae found in rivers, lakes, and ponds throughout Wisconsin. These algae can form “blooms’ due to high nutrient levels or when environmental conditions are favorable. Blooms may appear as scum layers or large floating mats and often have a bluish-green color and unpleasant odor. While not all algae blooms are harmful, some species of blue-green algae naturally produce a toxic substance that can cause illness or health effects in humans or animals through direct contact, ingestion, or inhalation.

To protect yourself, family, or pets from illness:

  • - Do not touch mats of algae, scum layers, foam, or other visible blooms of blue-green algae.
  • - Do not swim in areas where water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water’s surface.
  • - Do not eat fish from or drink water that appears foamy or scummy.
  • - Do not let dogs drink or swim in lake water during an algal bloom.
  • - Always wash your hands or shower off with soap and water after participating in recreational water activities.
  • - Always wash pets with clean water immediately if he/she swims or wades in water during an algal bloom.

At this time, no reports of illness related to activities within the lagoon have been reported. Informational signs notifying the public will soon be posted at Veterans Park.

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