Public urged be cautious following possible sighting of blue-green algae at reservoir

A POSSIBLE sighting of blue green algae has been reported at Lower Ormsgill Reservoir, in Barrow.

The Environment Agency has received reports of the algae, but it has not been able to take samples as its testing lab is not currently operational following the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a precaution, members of the public are urged to avoid any skin contact with the water - nor to let pets swim in it or drink it.

The algae occur naturally in inland waters such as rivers, streams and lakes. During a bloom, the water becomes less clear and may look green, blue-green or greenish-brown.

Cyanobacteria - or 'blue-green algae’ - can produce toxins which can kill wild animals, livestock and pets.

They can also cause harm to people, including rashes after skin contact and illness if swallowed.

Not all blue-green algae blooms and scums are toxic, but you can’t tell just by looking at them, so Environment Agency officials state it is safest to assume they are.

Warning signs will be installed around Lower Ormsgill Reservoir to alert people to the issue.

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